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Our View: Time to shelve cold med bill

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

State Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, has proposed legislation that would require anyone who has a cold to get a doctor’s prescription to buy medicine containing the drug pseudoephedrine.

The legislation is designed to curtail the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Meth, without a doubt, plays a role in the drug culture of our society and stopping it is a noble pursuit. But it’s as if Koehler watched the first few episodes of “Breaking Bad” and decided this was the route to stop the meth problem.

This legislation won’t stop the Walter Whites of the state. Meth manufacturers can find their way to a doctor’s office or a stack of prescription pads, too. This legislation will provide unnecessary regulation against the rest of us who just want to get rid of a cold.

Required checks are already in place when it comes to purchasing medicine containing pseudoephedrine. State law requires those medicines to be kept behind pharmacy counters. Stores record the IDs of people who buy the medicine, and there are limits on how much can be purchased. Who wants to be the one who knocks on their doctor’s office door every time you sneeze?

It’s not only those with a cold who would suffer side effects of this legislation.

Those with allergies would have to get a prescription for certain types of Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec, an unnecessary step for those of us who will be sneezing and rubbing our eyes through this spring, whenever it decides to make an appearance. For years, allergy sufferers had to wait in a doctor’s office to get prescriptions for those medications, until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled it wasn’t necessary.

A doctor’s prescription for these medicines is a waste of time for doctors and patients. So is this piece of legislation.

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