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  #1  
Old 04-27-2009, 06:30 PM
chaoticbear chaoticbear is offline
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Cough syrup with codeine over the counter

Do they still do this? When I lived in a smaller town, there was a small hometowny pharmacy where you could sign for it, and buy a limited quantity (4 ounces?) without a prescription. I stopped by 3 drugstores today, and no one does it or could recommend a place that does. (My appearance may factor into this, I am a 22-year old with a shaved head, goatee and some nontraditional piercings in my ear.)

(Full disclosure: I work for the Wal-Mart pharmacy, and as a chain, we don't do it either)
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  #2  
Old 04-27-2009, 06:56 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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Where are you? I assume you're not in the USA cause it would be pretty unthinkable for that to happen in the USA. I ask where you are because I have heard that you can do what you describe in Canada or Britain, but obviously if you have firsthand experience contradicting that, it would imply that as a practical matter the stuff is still hard to get.
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:06 PM
chaoticbear chaoticbear is offline
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Sorry, I am in the US, (Arkansas specifically, and Little Rock more specifically than that). I know it is a C-V drug. Maybe this is one of those old-timey traditions that has just died, or people in the big(ger) city abused it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:16 PM
JayRx1981 JayRx1981 is offline
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Originally Posted by chaoticbear View Post
Do they still do this? When I lived in a smaller town, there was a small hometowny pharmacy where you could sign for it, and buy a limited quantity (4 ounces?) without a prescription. I stopped by 3 drugstores today, and no one does it or could recommend a place that does. (My appearance may factor into this, I am a 22-year old with a shaved head, goatee and some nontraditional piercings in my ear.)

(Full disclosure: I work for the Wal-Mart pharmacy, and as a chain, we don't do it either)
At least in Ohio, your pharmacist can still sell you said product over the counter, if you sign for it. The problem is that most of us don't want to sell it, so we just don't keep it in stock. We're only supposed to sell it if, in our professional judgement, the patient needs it, and most of us won't sell it to you, even if we do carry it, until you satisfy that requirement. My own requirement to meet that, as an example, are that you must have tried two available over the counter remedies without success first (or demonstrated intolerance to those agents), in addition to having a clear cough when you visit me (seriously, people have come in who didn't cough once NOR exhibit any verbal scratchiness and got upset when I wouldn't sell to them).
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:30 PM
The Great Philosopher The Great Philosopher is offline
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In the UK you can buy it over the counter in small concentrations as part of cough medicine; they always mix it with paracetamol or ibuprofen so that you'd tank your liver if you tried to get high with it.

Wikipedia seems to say that you can buy it over the counter in some places in America with a similar set-up, but I didn't really understand it and it's only wikipedia after all. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codeine...lled_substance
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:06 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
Where are you? I assume you're not in the USA cause it would be pretty unthinkable for that to happen in the USA.
It used to be quite common to be able to get it from the pharmacy. What killed it, more or less, was the influx of large, corporately owned drug stores that took over and had policies to not do it. This happened in the last 10 years or so. I know of no change in the law that makes it illegal to still do it.

Last edited by pkbites; 04-27-2009 at 08:07 PM..
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:11 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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Illinois law reads:
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Persons must be over 18 years of age, and must provide their name, address, and signature for permanent record in a book designated for this purpose. Sale is at the pharmacist's discretion, and cannot be more frequent than once per 48 hours.
llinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington State, Massachusetts have schedule 5 drugs, including codeine behind the counter without a script.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:12 PM
Bender44 Bender44 is offline
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When I worked in a pharmacy, we used to keep it behind the counter. The patient had to sign for it and all that. This was 5 years ago or so, in NJ. I assume the law is still the same. This was a small chain so like people said, larger chains may not supply it.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:28 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
Illinois law reads:

llinois, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington State, Massachusetts have schedule 5 drugs, including codeine behind the counter without a script.
My wife had a recommendation (NOT a prescription) from an emergency room visit for A lingering and annoying rasping cough to obtain it -- she was able to pick it up by simply showing ID and signing for it at a locally owned pharmacy (the same one Margaret Truman's father-in-law ran, as it happens). They told her she couldn't buy it again for 30 days -- don't know if that was state law or store policy.
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Old 04-27-2009, 08:40 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
It used to be quite common to be able to get it from the pharmacy. What killed it, more or less, was the influx of large, corporately owned drug stores that took over and had policies to not do it. This happened in the last 10 years or so. I know of no change in the law that makes it illegal to still do it.
IMHO, what killed it was the steady stream of opiate abusers shuffling from pharmacy to pharmacy, trying to get their dose. Scared other customers, took up the pharmacist's time more than the sale was worth, and the word of mouth led to more of these folks popping by to get their codeine.

At least that's what I was told by 4 or 5 pharmacists who ran their own Mom & Pop operations back in the 70's and 80's.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:20 PM
chaoticbear chaoticbear is offline
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Well, that may be the problem, [bJJayRx1981[/b], I don't have any symptoms of a cough. I don't need it for cough, I have both Delsym and Mucinex DM if I did, and it's not for the high, if I were into that, I have hydrocodone for my back (or clonazepam evenI could abuse. I often just do things for the novelty of doing it, but it started out as a fun project, but then when I got turned down it turned into one of those DAMMIT I'VE GOT TO GET THIS DONE! kind of things. Like I don't want those people to win or something.

But you know how it is when you get something stuck in your craw, right? Do I just sound like an insane nutter now?
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:12 PM
Hirka T'Bawa Hirka T'Bawa is offline
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Federal law allows the sell of schedule V drugs OTC with certain exceptions, the most important one is that the state in question allows it. I don't know about other states, but the rule in Georgia is:

Quote:
16-13-29.2. Authority for exemption of over-the-counter Schedule V controlled substances


The Georgia State Board of Pharmacy shall have the authority to exempt and control the sale of Schedule V controlled substances by rule which shall allow the sale of such substances without the need for issuance of a prescription from a medical practitioner and shall require such substances to be sold only in a pharmacy when such substances are sold without a prescription. Such substances shall be known as Exempt Over-the-Counter (OTC) Schedule V Controlled Substances.
So, in the state of Georgia it is legal to sell Cheratussin AC over the counter as long as you don't buy more then 4oz (118ml) in 48 hours, and sign the Controlled substance exception log. In practice, it is really hard to get a hold of it. Most pharmacies do not stock the 4oz bottle of Cheratussin, and it is against the law to just take 4oz out of our pint bottle and sell it to you (due to labeling requirements. It is possible to do, but requires that you have special labels available).

In my experience working in Georgia, the only way to get it is to even know a pharmacy that just happens to stock it (very rare), or to know the pharmacist well enough to have them order a 4oz bottle from their wholesaler and be willing to sell it to you.

Quote:
(Full disclosure: I work for the Wal-Mart pharmacy, and as a chain, we don't do it either)
I work for Rite Aid, and there is no rule against selling it. It is just something we hardly ever stock. If you have a relation with someone who works in another pharmacy and know you aren't a drug seeker (ask the next time someone calls for a copy if you don't know anyone), they should be able to order it for you.

Assuming it is legal in your state in the first place. I am not a lawyer, I am a Pharmacy student in the state of Georgia. Whatever I say might not be applicable in your jurisdiction.

Last edited by Hirka T'Bawa; 04-27-2009 at 10:13 PM.. Reason: Fix quote tags
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:16 PM
Dripping Dripping is offline
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Originally Posted by chaoticbear View Post
Well, that may be the problem, [bJJayRx1981[/b], I don't have any symptoms of a cough. I don't need it for cough, I have both Delsym and Mucinex DM if I did, and it's not for the high, if I were into that, I have hydrocodone for my back (or clonazepam evenI could abuse. I often just do things for the novelty of doing it, but it started out as a fun project, but then when I got turned down it turned into one of those DAMMIT I'VE GOT TO GET THIS DONE! kind of things. Like I don't want those people to win or something.

But you know how it is when you get something stuck in your craw, right? Do I just sound like an insane nutter now?
Uh, yeah.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:35 PM
chaoticbear chaoticbear is offline
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Originally Posted by Hirka T'Bawa View Post
I work for Rite Aid, and there is no rule against selling it. It is just something we hardly ever stock. If you have a relation with someone who works in another pharmacy and know you aren't a drug seeker (ask the next time someone calls for a copy if you don't know anyone), they should be able to order it for you.
I actually don't know if we can get those, I had assumed that in pharmacies that did it they just poured it into a 4 oz bottle and slap a home-made label on it. Maybe it's just that we've never ordered it because we all assumed we couldn't. Although that would be circumventing this quest I'm on.

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Uh, yeah.
Lol, it would take a certain amount of familiarity with me to totally 'get it', but I talk on here about my working in a pharmacy, and I'm often full of strange ideas.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:48 PM
Hirka T'Bawa Hirka T'Bawa is offline
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I actually don't know if we can get those, I had assumed that in pharmacies that did it they just poured it into a 4 oz bottle and slap a home-made label on it. Maybe it's just that we've never ordered it because we all assumed we couldn't. Although that would be circumventing this quest I'm on.
Federal labeling requirements do not make it as simple as pouring the cheratussin out of the pint bottle, into a normal 4oz prescription bottle and slapping a normal label on it. You could do that, but you would have to order the labels special in order to meet the federal requirements.

The only time I've actually ordered the 4oz bottle, it was actually for me (had a really bad cough). We just ordered the bottle from Mckesson like we would have any other medication. Just make sure you order the 118mL bottle, and not the 473mL bottle. (NDC probably just ends in 04 instead of 16 if I remember correctly). In Georgia, it is required by law to have the exception log in the pharmacy, so if it is the same in your state, the only thing stopping you is whatever policy Walmart has on selling it.

Since I know you do (or used to) work in a pharmacy from your previous posts, I'm sure your pharmacist knows someone that works at another chain or independent that would be willing to order it for you.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:52 PM
JayRx1981 JayRx1981 is offline
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Well, that may be the problem, [bJJayRx1981[/b], I don't have any symptoms of a cough. I don't need it for cough, I have both Delsym and Mucinex DM if I did, and it's not for the high, if I were into that, I have hydrocodone for my back (or clonazepam evenI could abuse. I often just do things for the novelty of doing it, but it started out as a fun project, but then when I got turned down it turned into one of those DAMMIT I'VE GOT TO GET THIS DONE! kind of things. Like I don't want those people to win or something.

But you know how it is when you get something stuck in your craw, right? Do I just sound like an insane nutter now?
Slight side note first: Delsym and Mucinex DM both contain the generic agent dextromethorphan as their principal antitussive agent. They aren't really meant to be taken together. Of course, I probably just misunderstood you.

And certainly, I understand doing things just for the novelty of it (or for the "screw the man" sense that some people exhibit), but you'll possibly have very little luck obtaining it without a cough.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:54 PM
JayRx1981 JayRx1981 is offline
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
IMHO, what killed it was the steady stream of opiate abusers shuffling from pharmacy to pharmacy, trying to get their dose. Scared other customers, took up the pharmacist's time more than the sale was worth, and the word of mouth led to more of these folks popping by to get their codeine.
That's pretty much the number one reason my pharmacy manager doesn't keep the 4oz bottles in stock. Corporate told us we're supposed to sell it. She doesn't want to (and I only will under the previous aforementioned circumstances).
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:58 PM
chaoticbear chaoticbear is offline
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Originally Posted by Hirka T'Bawa View Post
Since I know you do (or used to) work in a pharmacy from your previous posts, I'm sure your pharmacist knows someone that works at another chain or independent that would be willing to order it for you.
Lol, as far as I can tell, the culture in my store is that the only relationship with other pharmacists in town is to bitch at them for needing copies

And Jay, I know that, but as it turns out Delsym tastes terrible, but the only way to find that out is to buy it and taste it

I'll check McKesson on Wednesday when I go in - Walmart HO has the selection of things we can access heavily restricted. Lord help us if we order the wrong brand of metformin or something.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:58 PM
Hirka T'Bawa Hirka T'Bawa is offline
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Corporate told us we're supposed to sell it.
JayRx1981, do you mind if I ask what chain you work for? I haven't ever heard any directives from corporate about selling it, and I just wonder what chain wants their pharmacies to sell it. I know when I bought it there wasn't much profit in it (I saw the invoice, and then the price I bought it for).
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:13 PM
JayRx1981 JayRx1981 is offline
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Originally Posted by Hirka T'Bawa View Post
JayRx1981, do you mind if I ask what chain you work for? I haven't ever heard any directives from corporate about selling it, and I just wonder what chain wants their pharmacies to sell it. I know when I bought it there wasn't much profit in it (I saw the invoice, and then the price I bought it for).
I work for a certain large grocery chain. That's honestly all I'm willing to say on here (since companies started looking online for their employee activities, I'm not comfortable relating which one specifically). At any rate, they have in years past, sent out at least one email a year directing us to sell it/stock it to anyone who meets the minimum requirements for it's purchase. Of course, given that the minimum requirements in Ohio involve the use of the nebulous "professional judgement" clause, most pharmacists in my chain use that as their excuse not to sell it. I personally don't have a problem selling it (though I'll defer to my pharmacy manager on stocking it or not), but I'm gonna make at least a good faith effort to make sure you really need it before I sell it.
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  #21  
Old 04-28-2009, 07:28 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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Wow, I had no idea it was technically legal in much of the US. I guess it's sort of like it's legal to own a gun in Chicago (just no one will let you register it.)
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Old 01-08-2012, 05:36 AM
Blabbermouth Blabbermouth is offline
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At least in Ohio, your pharmacist can still sell you said product over the counter, if you sign for it. The problem is that most of us don't want to sell it, so we just don't keep it in stock. We're only supposed to sell it if, in our professional judgement, the patient needs it, and most of us won't sell it to you, even if we do carry it, until you satisfy that requirement. My own requirement to meet that, as an example, are that you must have tried two available over the counter remedies without success first (or demonstrated intolerance to those agents), in addition to having a clear cough when you visit me (seriously, people have come in who didn't cough once NOR exhibit any verbal scratchiness and got upset when I wouldn't sell to them).
If you don't mind some constructive critism, that is just stupid. I can go a whole day without coughing and go to bed and cough my ass off. If someone is coughing when asking you for codeine cough syrup and coughing they may be putting on a show. They might not have a cough at all but maybe drug addicts. Wouldn't you feel dumb if you didn't sell a bottle of codeine cough syrup to a drug addict. I bet allot of people who ask are drug addicts and need that cough syrup more than someone who has a cough. You simply sell the bottle until you get a repeat customer. Than you sell it to him again and tell him it is the last one and recommend a place for him to detox. One thing for sure, you don't deny cough syrup because the customer won't perform for you. But one time you might just accidentally deny a sale to some addict, how will you feel than?
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:56 AM
grude grude is offline
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
IMHO, what killed it was the steady stream of opiate abusers shuffling from pharmacy to pharmacy, trying to get their dose. Scared other customers, took up the pharmacist's time more than the sale was worth, and the word of mouth led to more of these folks popping by to get their codeine.

At least that's what I was told by 4 or 5 pharmacists who ran their own Mom & Pop operations back in the 70's and 80's.
Wikipedia claims only 300mg of codeine can be metabolized into morphine per 24 hours, which comes out something like less than 30mg of morphine per day.

The schedule 5 syrup if you drank the whole bottle has around 120mg of codeine and costs somewhere around $20 dollars.

That you could have any kind of a habit with that, and at $40 dollars a day might as well buy pills on the street or heroin.
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Old 01-08-2012, 07:58 AM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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I wish I hadn't read thread; I'm addicted to codeine although I am now in recovery. I find myself wondering if I could buy the product in Florida.

The pharmacy I used has noted on my profile to never sell me codeine medications. (I requested this) I live in Florida and don't know the rule concerning this product.

Do pharmacies that do sell this product cross check to customer's profile in determining to sell this medication to them?
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:07 AM
grude grude is offline
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[QUOTE=LouisB;14645474]
The pharmacy I used has noted on my profile to never sell me codeine medications. (I requested this) I live in Florida and don't know the rule concerning this product.

QUOTE]

Do you mean prescriptions? Because I think the schedule 5 syrup is the only codeine containing medicine that can be sold at the pharmacist's discretion, everything else is RX only.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:10 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Originally Posted by The Great Philosopher View Post
In the UK you can buy it over the counter in small concentrations as part of cough medicine; they always mix it with paracetamol or ibuprofen so that you'd tank your liver if you tried to get high with it.
I seriously doubt that is the reason they add an analgesic. Liver damage is hardly preferable to addiction.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:14 AM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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[QUOTE=grude;14645488]
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Originally Posted by LouisB View Post
The pharmacy I used has noted on my profile to never sell me codeine medications. (I requested this) I live in Florida and don't know the rule concerning this product.

QUOTE]

Do you mean prescriptions? Because I think the schedule 5 syrup is the only codeine containing medicine that can be sold at the pharmacist's discretion, everything else is RX only.
My pharmacy knows I have told them never to sell me prescription medications that contain codeine; it is the under the counter medications that concern me. I do not want any medications that contain codeine. But if i know that an under the counter medication contains codeine it is just another temptation for me to buy it----I don't need any temptations. If I CAN buy it, I Will buy it. I don't want to be ABLE to buy it.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:22 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Wikipedia claims only 300mg of codeine can be metabolized into morphine per 24 hours, which comes out something like less than 30mg of morphine per day.

The schedule 5 syrup if you drank the whole bottle has around 120mg of codeine and costs somewhere around $20 dollars.

That you could have any kind of a habit with that, and at $40 dollars a day might as well buy pills on the street or heroin.
That's assuming a steady black market supply of heroin or oxycodone, or vicodin is always readily available. In lots of areas it's not, and an addict in withdrawal will look to other sources of opioids (or anything remotely opioid), like schedule V codeine cough syrup, lomotil, or even dextromethorphan. Hell, even clonidine has a street value as it cuts the withdrawal symptoms somewhat. I've had patients who stole someone's clonidine when they couldn't get an opioid.

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 01-08-2012 at 09:23 AM..
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:36 PM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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I wouldn't buy the codeine medicine under the counter thinking it would give me a rush; I would buy it simply because I could; if you've never been an addict, I wouldn't expect you to believe or understand that.

I made a trip to my pharmacy after reading this thread specifically to asked about such availability. I was told that their corporate headquarters has ruled out the under counter sales of any medicine that contains codeine. I'm grateful for that. I also learned that IF they did make such sales, they would not check my profile----it would a simple sale that would be a little more difficult than buying a bottle of aspiring. I'm going to spend the rest of the day fighting the compulsion to take codeine; it's a damn good thing that I don't have any.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:41 PM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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I've lost the ability to spell for some reason. Please ignore the errors in my previous post.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:45 PM
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I bought some in France back in August, no questions asked. Haven't been able to get any here though.
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:27 PM
postcards postcards is offline
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Does the codeine help the zombies to stop coughing up old threads?
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:20 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Originally Posted by JayRx1981 View Post
At least in Ohio, your pharmacist can still sell you said product over the counter, if you sign for it. The problem is that most of us don't want to sell it, so we just don't keep it in stock. We're only supposed to sell it if, in our professional judgement, the patient needs it, and most of us won't sell it to you, even if we do carry it, until you satisfy that requirement. My own requirement to meet that, as an example, are that you must have tried two available over the counter remedies without success first (or demonstrated intolerance to those agents), in addition to having a clear cough when you visit me (seriously, people have come in who didn't cough once NOR exhibit any verbal scratchiness and got upset when I wouldn't sell to them).
I can understand this for a stranger who walks in off the street, but suppose you were "my" pharmacist, and I'd been bringing my prescriptions to you over a number of years, and buying OTC products as well. You'd know me well enough to know I'm not an abuser or addict, so would you absolutely not be willing to give me a break? I know, a "big grocery chain" sounds like it wouldn't be the sort of situation where the pharmacists and techs would get to know the patients, but IME that often does happen, because the same staff have been seeing me at Savon the entire time I've been going there. Wouldn't your familiarity with the customer ever override the "hacking cough" and "intolerance of other meds" prerequisite?


This is strictly hypothetical since I'm nowhere near Ohio. And in my jurisdiction it's completely moot as well, because in California a prescription is needed for Schedule V.
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:39 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Bonus question: Sudafed

Since sales of pseudophedrine and ephedrine have been monitored for several years now, how is that working out? Of course, those stimulants aren't the actual amphetamine type stimulants that speed freaks, or students cramming for exams, would like; so the parallel with C-V codeine can only be taken so far. Overall, however, have there been many problems with people buying this stuff beyond what the law allows?
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:01 PM
yabob yabob is online now
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Since sales of pseudophedrine and ephedrine have been monitored for several years now, how is that working out? Of course, those stimulants aren't the actual amphetamine type stimulants that speed freaks, or students cramming for exams, would like; so the parallel with C-V codeine can only be taken so far. Overall, however, have there been many problems with people buying this stuff beyond what the law allows?
Those are monitored for a slightly different reason. Not because of the effects of the monitored drug itself, but because it is an easy (though dangerous) starting point for making methamphetamine. When you ask how THAT is working out, you may wish to consider that amateur meth labs started using pseudoephedrine based medications to manufacture speed following government restrictions placed on phenyl-2-propanone (AKA phenylacetone), a precursor chemical used in earlier speed manufacture.

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Old 01-19-2012, 07:08 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hirka T'Bawa View Post
Federal labeling requirements do not make it as simple as pouring the cheratussin out of the pint bottle, into a normal 4oz prescription bottle and slapping a normal label on it. You could do that, but you would have to order the labels special in order to meet the federal requirements.

The only time I've actually ordered the 4oz bottle, it was actually for me (had a really bad cough). We just ordered the bottle from Mckesson like we would have any other medication. Just make sure you order the 118mL bottle, and not the 473mL bottle. (NDC probably just ends in 04 instead of 16 if I remember correctly). In Georgia, it is required by law to have the exception log in the pharmacy, so if it is the same in your state, the only thing stopping you is whatever policy Walmart has on selling it.

Since I know you do (or used to) work in a pharmacy from your previous posts, I'm sure your pharmacist knows someone that works at another chain or independent that would be willing to order it for you.
Bit of a hijack here, what do you know about compounding pharmacies? Would it be possible for my doc to write up a scrip so all my morning BP meds are all crammed into a single cap instead of 5 pills of assorted sizes? And maybe add in the active ingredient in my metformin? I am tired of horking down a handfull of pills at breakfast =(
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:38 AM
spankthecrumpet spankthecrumpet is offline
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Possibly a bit late for the OP but someone mentioned this thread in another one and I thought I could be helpful by mentioning you can buy codeine cough syrup from amazon.co.uk and they will ship it to the US.
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:47 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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I asked about cough syrup with codeine at a pharmacy in Virginia this year. They told me that it was technically legal for OTC sale but that no, or very few, pharmacies will actually sell it to you.
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