The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering SB 160 – legislation that would require a doctor’s prescription to obtain cold medications containing pseudoephedrine – a main ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
The legislation is sponsored by Senator Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau) who wants to make pseudoephedrine a controlled substance in an effort to cut down on meth-making, which is a huge problem in Crowell’s district in southeast Missouri.
Franklin County Deputy Sheriff Jason Grellner testified on behalf of the legislation, telling Senators methamphetamine cannot be made without pseudoephedrine, and saying the making of meth cannot be halted without controlling access to this ingredient. A suggestion that electronic monitoring would be sufficient to cut back on meth-naking is rejected by Grellner as inadequate.
“I’m here to tell you,” said Grellner, “That electronic monitoring does nothing more than identify more suspects for police to arrest.”
Opponents of the legislation say that while they want to cut down on methamphetamine manufacturing, this bill is not the answer. Mandy Hagan, Director of State Government Relations with the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, testified on behalf of the drug manufacturers.
“This is a proposal,” said Hagan, “That seeks to shift a new burden to the health care system to meet a law enforcement problem and we feel that electronic tracking is the more appropriate and suitable way to do that.”
As for suggestions the drug-makers oppose the legislation because it might cut into profits, Hagan rejects that conclusion: “It’s $9.4-million, approximately, in sales here (in Missouri). That represents about 1.8 percent of the U.S. pseudoephedrine sales market, over the counter, and that’s also about one quarter of one percent of the U.S. cough and cold market. So, it’s a very small market for us.”
The hearing ended with the committee taking no vote on the legislation.