Cold Cures Likely To Be Locked Up
12/12/2005 11:54:29 AM
Many popular cold and allergy medicines will be locked up behind the counter -- where consumers will have to show a photo ID and sign a logbook to buy them -- under a new provision by Congress to make it tougher for illegal drug labs to get hold of pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant used in making methamphetamines.
The measure, written by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., was included as part of the USA Patriot Act renewal agreed to Thursday by House and Senate lawmakers. Although some lawmakers have expressed opposition to certain parts of the Patriot Act, the bill is expected to be passed this month with the anti-meth measure included.
The bill is backed by some law enforcement officials, who believe it will limit the availability of methamphetamine precursor drugs for small meth labs operating around the country. But with most of the precursor drugs being shipped in from Canada, Mexico and other countries, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, it is likely to have a modest impact on the overall supply of methamphetamine in the United States.
The measure will have major implications for many retailers and drugstores, which are used to stocking aisles full of remedies that include pseudoephedrine, such as Sudafed, NyQuil, Tylenol Flu and Claritin-D.
Several big chain stores -- Longs Drug Stores, Walgreens, Target and Wal-Mart -- already have responded by voluntarily putting cold medicines with pseudoephedrine in their pharmacies. But many grocery stores, pharmacies, corner stores and even gas stations will have to make significant changes to comply with the new law.
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