11:52am

Mon January 9, 2012
State Capitol

Pseudoephedrine Fight Resumes in Kentucky Senate

The fight over making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription is heating up again in the Kentucky legislature. The state Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the bill on Thursday morning. Last week, senators made passionate speeches on the chamber floor in favor of the bill. The idea is supported by most of Senate leadership, as well as Kentucky State Police. But the Consumer Healthcare Products Association says the bill is too restrictive on the average family.

The CHPA argues that parents don’t want to take their children to a doctor just because they need Sudafed for a common cold.

And the group is running radio and print ads to fight back once again.

“So when I read there might be a new law in Kentucky requiring me to get a prescription before I can buy cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, like Claritin D and Sudafed, I wasn’t happy," a female narrator says in the ad. "The paper said some politicians are pushing this because meth dealers use an ingredient in these medicines to help make their drugs."

That ingredient is pseudoephedrine, a key component of both the medicines and the drug.

The CHPA is also urging people to call their lawmakers on the issue. The group says lawmakers in favor of the bill are distorting their numbers. Some lawmakers say 70 percent of medicine with pseudoephedrine purchased over the counter will end up in meth labs. The CPHA, using reports from state police and the Legislative Research Commission, puts that number at 15 percent or less.

The CHPA is also promoting their own alternative bill at the same time.

“Others support a new solution that would block sales to convicted meth offenders and still allow law-abiding citizens like me to purchase medicines my family depends on," the radio ad continues. "Punishing criminals, not families. I like that."

The CHPA compromise bill is sponsored by state Rep. Brent Yonts in the House and state Sen. Jerry Rhoads in the Senate. Both are Democrats.

Proponents of the tougher bill say the Yonts bill doesn’t go far enough. They contend it doesn't crack down on "smurfers," people paid to buy the cold medicine, but not active in the manufacturing of meth.

The CHPA says the Yonts' bill would catch smurfers first, which would then tighten the net around actual meth manufacturers by using the instant MethCheck registry, not the KASPER system.