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New Bill Would Make Pseudoephedrine A Prescription Drug

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - Getting cold medicine could soon require a doctor's visit and a prescription. State lawmakers are considering bill HB 368 that would make pseudoephedrine a prescription drug.

Some legislators and law enforcement support the bill because they say it will help curb meth abuse. But some local pharmacists and physicians said while they know the abuse of pseudoephedrine is rampant in the state, making it a controlled substance would do nothing to curb the trend.

Chris Stoltz a pharmacist with Phipps Pharmacy in Jackson said if this bill passes it would drastically raise the price of medication.

"Instead of paying 7,8,9 dollars for your pseudoephdrine, you're gonna pay $100 by the time you for for doctors fees and prescriptions fees," he said.

Stoltz said he feels this bill is unnecessary because pharmacists are already keeping track of pseudoephedrine purchased and stocked in their pharmacies.

"I'm afraid that it could present another hindrance or deterrent for patients especially low income individuals," he said.

Dr. Peter Gardner at Physicians Quality Care said having people come to the doctor's for minor ailments like allergies will clog up the system.

"Like so many other control substance problems in the state getting a prescription is not always that difficult. There are plenty of practitioners who will freely write the prescriptions," he said.

Gardner said if the bill were to pass pseudoephedrine would become just another abused drug in Tennessee.

"Will it help? Once again, we can follow Xanax, oxycodone and I don't see those diminishing that much in the state."

House Bill 368 is not scheduled for a vote, yet. Similar legislation passed in Mississippi, in 2011 but figures show it's had no significant impact on the use of meth or prescription drug abuse.

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