Preserving Consumer Access to Important Cold and Allergy Medicines
State and federal laws limit the amount of nonprescription pseudoephedrine (PSE) consumers can buy to prevent the diversion of PSE for meth production. States, however, need an effective way to enforce those limits statewide and across state borders to curb the practice of “smurfing”, whereby criminals make purchases at multiple stores to acquire illegal quantities of PSE.
The solution is a multi-state electronic PSE sales blocking system—funded by the manufacturers of medicines containing PSE—that blocks unlawful PSE purchases at the point of sale. The technology is available to any state that mandates electronic blocking of illegal PSE sales.
So far, 31 states1 have adopted real-time, stop-sale technology. The blocking technology monitors all nonprescription PSE purchases in real-time to prevent meth criminals from exceeding legal limits. It also tracks purchases among all participating states so that meth cooks are unable to simply cross state lines to illegally obtain PSE. In 2013 alone, this stop-sale technology prevented the sale of more than 1.6 million boxes of PSE, keeping over 4 million grams potentially off the street.
Real-time, stop-sale technology not only stops illegal sales in real-time, it also provides law enforcement with an effective way of using the records already required by state and federal law to identify meth cooks. The system has been instrumental in not only aiding in identifying meth labs, but also in prosecuting meth cases around the country.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) — the trade association representing U.S. manufacturers of nonprescription medicines — is working closely with states to support electronic stop-sale legislation and the adoption of the system. Real-time, stop-sale technology is the better alternative to prescription status for PSE because it produces no new burdens to consumers, imposes no new costs on the healthcare system and provides law enforcement officials with a proven, state-of-the-art tool in the fight against meth production and abuse.
1 Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia