St. Louis City Considering Prescriptions For Cold, Sinus Medicines

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- The City of St. Louis could become the latest community to require a prescription for some cold and allergy medicines now sold over the counter.

The target is medicines that contain Pseudoephedrine; very effective for treating colds and allergies, but unfortunately also an ingredient needed to make meth.

And with more meth labs popping up in the City of St. Louis, 15th ward alderman Jennifer Florida wants to make getting those medicines much harder.

"We have a very serious issue of meth labs in the city and I have had several meth labs in my ward in just the past few months,' Florida said.

The bill she introduced Friday would require a prescription to buy those Pseudoephedrine based cold and allergy medications.

Florida introduced the same bill two years ago, but it never went anywhere.

Now however, with so many neighboring communities passing similar laws, she says it is time for city leaders to look at the prescription idea again.

'It destroys families. It is a highly addictive drug so I think we have a responsibility as a community to not be afraid to take on this issue and discuss it,' she said.

Included in that discussion will surely be the objections of the St. Louis chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, which opposes the prescription requirement because of the inconvenience factor, but also because they believe it could flummox the national tracking system that follows Pseudoephedrine purchases.

'If it becomes prescription then law enforcement loses its ability to track and see who these potential meth purchasers are,' said executive director Joy Krieger.

But there may be a game changer on the horizon.

A new over the counter drug called Releva, made in St. Louis by Highland Pharmaceuticals, will soon to be on the market. It still contains Pseudoephedrine, but chemically it is not supposed to work to make meth.

Alderman Donna Baringer, 16th ward, had been considering introducing a meth bill of her own. She thinks even with Releva coming on the market, St. Louis may still need some kind of Pseudoephedrine regulation.

'(Meth makers) may want to stockpile as much as they can right now, which means an increase in the amount of people trying to come into the city to find the Pseudoephedrine before this new drug is on the shelves, so I think there may be a scurry to buy it, so we want to make sure that doesn`t occur,' she said.

Alderman Florida is expecting a long hard slog.

But even Board Bill 154 goes nowhere; she thinks there is benefit in simply drawing attention to the problem.

In the meantime, Highland Pharmaceuticals plans to test market Releva in St. Louis starting in November.

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