Two state lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday to establish a statewide, industry-funded electronic tracking system for purchases of cold and allergy medicine containing an ingredient in methamphetamine.
Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, and Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, said their bill would head off attempts to ban over-the-counter sales of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine. Such legislation already has been filed in the legislature, and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said this week he favors requiring prescriptions to buy cold and allergy products that contain the meth ingredient.
At a news conference, Beavers said, “This kind of government intrusion in our lives is not the solution we need to attack the meth problem in Tennessee. We should not punish the tens of thousands of innocent Tennesseans who need this over-the-counter medication to get at the criminals who are using the drug illegally to produce meth when there is another approach which is very effective. Our legislation offers a proven, effective, non-governmental solution to the problem, without pushing up the cost of the medication on consumers by requiring them to visit a physician to obtain a prescription.”
Under the legislation, pharmacists could track purchases of the medicine electronically, so that they could refuse a sale that exceeds a customer’s legal limit. The bill would make Tennessee the 13th state to require this e-tracking system.
“For all law-abiding Tennesseans, the experience of buying cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine at the local pharmacy will not change,” Maggart said. “However, for those looking to purchase more than their legal limit, this system will immediately deny the sale, and law enforcement will possess a powerful tool to track down these individuals when they attempt to do so.”