CHPA Praises Pennsylvania Lawmakers for Age-18 Sales Law on Cough Medicine

Pennsylvania Becomes 17th State to Adopt DXM Law
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Press Releases and Statements | Oct 25, 2018

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Yesterday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law HB 1951, legislation prohibiting the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (DXM) to minors. Pennsylvania is now the 17th state/commonwealth to adopt these restrictions. 

While millions of Americans use products containing DXM to safely treat their symptoms, according to the 2017 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) annual Monitoring the Future survey, one in 30 teens abuses OTC cough medicine containing DXM to get high.

“CHPA supports these types of laws, and over the years we’ve learned that a combination of smart public policy and public education is effective at combating teen abuse of OTC cough medicine,” said CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville. “Committed state lawmakers such as Representative Tarah Toohil and Senator Stewart Greenleaf have been crucial allies in our abuse prevention efforts.”

In 2012, California became the first state to prohibit sales of DXM-containing products to minors. Since then, governors from Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, and Wisconsin have all signed similar laws.

“Because Pennsylvania retailers and pharmacies will now be required to check identification before selling DXM-containing medicine to consumers, retailers are essential to the effective implementation of DXM age-restriction laws,” said Melville. 

The new law goes into effect on December 23, 2019.

Recognizing the important role that retailers plan in the effective implementation of state DXM age-restriction laws, CHPA launched a retailer education initiative as part of its Stop Medicine Abuse campaign, aimed at engaging parents and community members about teen abuse of OTC cough medicine. Retailers can download or order free materials for employees and consumers.

Please visit for more information about teen DXM abuse and other helpful resources for parents and community members.

Founded in 1881, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system more than $7, contributing a total of $146 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to empowering consumer self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products.