General Merchandise/HBC

Arizona Mulls Pseudoephedrine Restrictions

C-store sales would be illegal

PHOENIX -- State representatives voted Monday to make it harder for Arizonans to buy some medications containing pseudoephedrine, said the Arizona Daily Sun.

The legislation would make it illegal to stock Sudafed and similar drugs on the shelf of grocery, drug and convenience stores, at least in its pill form. Instead, these medications would have to be stored behind a counter and could be dispensed only by a pharmacist, and only after the buyer presents proper identification, the report said.

It also would limit individuals to [image-nocss] buying no more than 9 gramsabout 150 dosesin any 30-day period. That would be enforced with a requirement that each pharmacy maintain a log which would be available to police officers and detectives.

State Representative Eddie Farnsworth (R) said the legislation will not make a difference because the people who already are breaking the law by making methamphetamines are the ones who will steal ID cards or create fake ones. "The only people who are actually going to have to sign in their names are the law-abiding citizens," he said.

But State Rep. Tom O'Halleran (R), who said the law would not unduly inconvenience most people, said the sale of liquid and gel cap versions of the same medications would remain unaffected. He said these variants cannot be used to "cook" into illegal meth.

SB 1473 faces an uncertain future, according to the newspaper. That is because the now-amended version of SB 1473 must be ratified by the Senate which, until now, has refused to impose similar restrictions.

That has been the position of store owners: Pharmacies do not want the additional responsibility while grocers and convenience stores, which do not employ pharmacists, would no longer be able to sell those items.

Pfizer Inc., which manufactures Sudafed, agreed earlier this month to drop its opposition to sales restrictions, said the report. But that came only after the company began marketing Sudafed PE, a version that contains no pseudoephedrine and would not be subject to the law.

Current law imposes no restriction on how drugs with pseudoephedrine are marketed. The only limit is that people cannot buy more than 24 grams400 dosesat any one time. That limit, said O'Halleran, does not work because people can go from store to store and make their purchases or divide a purchase into multiple purchases.

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