Washington, Mo., government votes to move PSE products to Rx-only

NEW YORK In the short term, it means pharmacists operating out of one of the 12 or so pharmacies in Washington, Mo., will need to see a doctor’s prescription before filling any pseudoephedrine requests.

But the legislation is not likely to stand, especially as it sets a dangerous precedent. Never mind the excessive supply chain and administrative costs that would come with navigating not only federal regulations and 50 state regulations, but thousands of local regulations as well. If this local ordinance were allowed to remain intact, it would mean any local government anywhere could decide what was appropriately sold where based on whatever parameters they felt justified the action. Not in favor of Plan B? Make it a controlled substance. Buy into safety and efficacy concerns around [insert over-the-counter brand here]? Make it so it’s only available by prescription.

More important is the trend toward legislating a law-enforcement issue around the sale of a legitimate, cost-saving OTC allergy/cold remedy by moving it from behind-the-counter to prescription-only. Understandably, it’s a trend that enjoys the full support of law enforcement, agencies that won’t have to expend quite as many limited public resources against methamphetamine lab reduction by nixing pharmacy as a supply source of the precursor ingredient PSE altogether.

The alternative is an electronic tracking system, that can help law enforcement key in on the practice of smurfing in real time. Implementing those systems state wide isn’t cheap, however, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association has offered to defray those costs, at least in California.

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