Ore. Mulls Prescriptions for Cold Medicines

Associated Press
Thursday, July 21, 2005

SALEM, Ore., July 20 -- Oregon would become the first state to require a prescription for many types of cold medicines under a bill passed overwhelmingly by the state House on Wednesday as part of an attack on the use of methamphetamine.

Pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in popular over-the counter medicines such as Sudafed and Sinutab, is used to make meth, an illegal and powerfully addictive drug.

The measure was sent to the state Senate on a vote of 55 to 4. Supporters said they expect the measure to pass in the Senate, and it is supported by Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D).

"A plague has spread across America," said state Rep. Greg Macpherson (D). "This is what we must do in this state to get this problem under control."

Oregon, like several other states, already restricts the sale of pseudoephedrine tablets to pharmacies and requires that the medications be kept behind the counter.

Opponents of the bill complained that it was too radical and that the public will not support the additional restrictions.

Some drug companies have begun reformulating cold medicines with substitutes for pseudoephedrine that cannot be used in meth labs.

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