Local pharmacists weigh in on prescription for pseudoephedrine bill

Local pharmacists weigh in on prescription for pseudoephedrine bill

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"I think if we give this a little more time to operate, it is probably going to achieve what they want from it," Belew said of the National Precursor Log Exchange "I think if we give this a little more time to operate, it is probably going to achieve what they want from it," Belew said of the National Precursor Log Exchange
Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient used to make meth. Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient used to make meth.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Local pharmacists and their customers are weighing in on a new bill in Tennessee that would require a doctor's prescription to buy any medicine with pseudoephedrine.

The law includes medications like Claritin-D, Advil Cold and Sinus, and Sudafed.

Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient used to make meth.

"It's the most effective oral decongestant, no question about it. It's good medication. It's like anything else, if they want to abuse it, people are going to find a way to do that," said Knoxville pharmacy owner David Belew.

He sees the advantages and the disadvantages of requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine.

"You introduce the need for them to go to the doctor, that's time off work, time dragging kids around, who may not need to be drug around this time of year to a doctor's office," he said.

Belew said the problem of meth addicts buying pseudoephedrine in bulk has drastically decreased in his area since it was placed behind the counter several years ago.

He said the National Precursor Log Exchange, the electronic system put into place in Tennessee last January, has helped even more. It tracks and restricts purchases of pseudoephedrine in real time and provides that information to law enforcement. 

"I think if we give this a little more time to operate, it is probably going to achieve what they want from it," Belew said.

The customers, however, don't seem to have a problem with the bill.

"It's probably the best way to go. All drugs should be kind of controlled through a doctor," said Jackie Rolen.

He recognizes the burden a doctor's visit would place on some legitimately sick patients, but thinks the benefits for the state would be worth the hassle.

"Tennessee is what, one of the worst states for meth? If they had it through a doctor, it would probably stop a lot of it," Rolen said.

Both Oregon and Mississippi already require a prescription for pseudoephedrine.

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