Drug Industry Backs E-Tracking of Pseudoephedrine Products

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association both support the implementation of a nationwide electronic tracking system for over-the-counter sales of cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, used to make the illicit drug methamphetamine.

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association both support the implementation of a nationwide electronic tracking system for over-the-counter sales of cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, used to make the illicit drug methamphetamine.

In statements to Congress Tuesday, both organizations said e-tracking would be more effective in crime fighting and more patient-friendly than a move to make these products available by prescription only.

NACDS said such a move “ultimately harms consumers, imposes unjustified burdens on the health care system, and creates additional cost burdens for public and private health care payers.”

The U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control held a hearing here Tuesday on the need to further strengthen the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 that already limits sales access of products containing pseudoephedrine by placing them behind the counter.

NACDS said it “is supportive of a national electronic tracking program; however, it is imperative that such a program be designed to include provisions that minimize safety risks and compliance burdens for retailers and consumers.”

CHPA President Linda Suydam made a commitment on behalf of nonprescription drug manufacturers to fund a national system and work with the retail community to expand the National Precursor Log Exchange systems currently being implemented in eight states that have passed e-tracking legislation. The system works in real time to stop individuals from exceeding package limits when purchasing PSE-containing medicines.

Since the CMEA was enacted in 2006, there has been a 46% decrease in methamphetamine lab incidents nationwide, down from 12,619 in 2005 to 6,783 in 2009. CMEA, combined with similar state legislation, has reduced methamphetamine lab seizures over 60% from their peak of 17,356 in 2003, NACDS pointed out in its statement.

Two states, Oregon and Mississippi, make PSE medicines available by prescription only.

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