(KMOV) – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is supporting a new law that would require a prescription for any medicine that contains pseudoephedrine, a primary ingredient for meth.
Sudafed, Advil Cold and Sinus, Claritin and Zyrtec all contain pseudoephedrine. Governor Nixon wants to make it a “schedule one” drug – the same as heroin. He says it’s a necessity.
“When you're first in the country in ten years in a row, and we're on the path once again to two thousand meth lab incidents in the state of Missouri, we need additional tools so lives aren't ruined and public safety isn't threatened,” Nixon says.
But some wonder if prescription-only options will really work. “Pill poppers” often doctor shot, paying others to buy pseudoephedrine for them.
The opposition says prescription laws are unfair to the uninsured, who might have to pay out-of-pocket to see a doctor when all they need is a decongestant.
"In regards to healthcare issues that are going on today with rising health care costs, you introduce that factor, in which patients are going to have to have more doctors visits potentially, doctors' offices will incur more costs and field more phone calls in dealing with calling in prescriptions," says Dr. Rob O'Bert of the Missouri Baptist Medical Center.
If it sounds like a case of punishing the good guys for the bad guys’ misuse, the Missouri Pharmacy Association agrees.
“Unfortunately, with a lot of laws, the criminals affect the people who are law-abiding citizens,” says Kendra Holmes, Director of Pharmacy at Grace Hill.
And even if you have insurance, it might just be a prescription for frustration.
“It is going to be a big inconvenience for a lot of patients and also providers, which also means additional co-pay, which in this economy is a little bit difficult for patients,” says Holmes.
However, it might be a necessary evil. Law enforcement points to success in Oregon. The state implemented a similar system in 2006 and has all but obliterated meth use and makers.
Police in Oregon report the pseudoephedrine that they do see in meth labs comes from other states.