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CHPA 'disappointed' over cold medicine bill

WASHINGTON — The following is a statement by Linda A. Suydam, D.P.A., president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), in response to State Senate passage of legislation, which will require a prescription to access over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine:

“We are disappointed that the Mississippi Senate chose to overlook consumer sentiment and passed a bill today that will significantly impact how cold and allergy sufferers access some of their medicines. While well-intentioned, this bill will impose an unnecessary burden on Mississippians, despite there being a better and more effective solution to address the state’s meth production problem.

“Under this legislation, if only half of those Mississippians who rely on these medicines are now forced to visit a doctor to obtain a prescription for these cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine, the cost to the healthcare system would be over $7 million. Additional impacts to the state include a loss of over half-a-million dollars from lost sales tax revenue, and notable cost increases to the state’s Medicaid program and state employee and retiree programs. In a time of economic scrutiny, this option is counterproductive in addressing the current crisis in healthcare delivery—especially among Mississippi’s uninsured and medically underserved.

“In the short time that this debate has been underway, Mississippians have spoken out that this is not the right way to address methamphetamine abuse. From comments on media stories to calls to the state legislature, many consumers have expressed outrage that the state is rushing to push this law through—especially when a more effective alternative is on the table. Electronic tracking of over-the-counter medicines containing pseudoephedrine serves as a more effective, less-costly alternative, and one that eight states have adopted to fight domestic methamphetamine production while maintaining consumer access to these medicines. An e-tracking system is a tool that law enforcement and pharmacists can use to stop the sale of illegal amounts of pseudoephedrine as set forth by the federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. With this real-time tracking system, states can also link up with other states to track cross-border sales.”

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About Wally Northway