CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Lawmakers are again expected to look at a proposal that would require prescriptions for medications containing pseudephedrine, a key meth ingredient, when the 2014 Regular Legislative Session begins in January.
Those opposed to the possibility are bolstering their arguments, ahead of the session’s start, with a new poll of West Virginians from Mark Blankenship Enterprises.
That poll found 56 percent of West Virginia voters oppose legislation requiring a doctor’s prescription for cold and allergy drugs, while 40 percent of those questioned said they would support such a law.
About 65 percent of the participants in the poll said it would be somewhat or very inconvenient to have to get a doctor’s prescription to buy drugs like Claritin D, Advil Cold and Sinus or other common cold and allergy medicines that are now available over-the-counter.
Carlos Gutierrez, senior director of government affairs for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), said the poll’s results echo what he’s seen nationwide.
“The vast majority of voters, Americans, West Virginians, they oppose a prescription requirement for an already FDA approved, very safe, very effective medication that is currently affordable and accessible,” he said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
His organization represents over-the-counter drug companies and has worked against legislation, here in West Virginia and across the country, that would require prescriptions for drugs containing pseudoephedrine. CHPA commissioned and paid for the poll.
“Folks are really getting a little bit worn out on legislation that is crafted all on behalf of a small, criminal minority and the vast majority of West Virginians who buy pseudoephedrine, I’m convinced, are not criminals,” said Gutierrez.
Of those questioned in the poll, 80 percent said they would support legislation that would keep people convicted of meth crimes from buying medications, containing pseudoephedrine, for ten years.
State law already limits pseudoephedrine purchases in West Virginia.
Proposals requiring prescriptions for drugs containing pseudoephedrine are expected to be introduced when the 2014 Regular Legislative Session begins in January. The prescription requirement is already in place in Oregon and Mississippi.
Supporters of it have said the change would help reduce the number of meth labs in operation in West Virginia.