Over the counter cold medicines containing psuedophedrine for years in the US are have been required to be obtained from the pharmacist (without a prescription) with the presentation of a government issued photo ID. Consumers are also limited in the quantity of the OTC drug that can be purchased.
These changes in the US occured in the 2005/2006 time frame, primarily to combat and curb the production of crystal meth. But not as much as many states and the DEA would like. The practice of smurfing, which is purchasers going around town from pharmacy to pharmacy to buy large quantities of the psuedophedrine drugs has resulted in a limited effect on the use of these OTC drugs in the production of crystal meth. Two states, Oregon and Mississippi, now require a doctors prescription to purchase these once OTC medications. Many other states are considering similar legislation that would make the OTC drug, once again a prescription medication. Both Oregon and Mississippi claim that the production of crystal meth has dropped dramatically since the new laws have been enacted.
The upside of the prescription laws: curb the flow of psuedophedrine drugs into the crystal meth production.
The downside of the prescription laws: require someone with a cold to go to the doctor and obtain a prescription. Increase costs. Waste of physician time. Increase medicare costs for an OTC drug.
Supporters of the increased regulation argue that a cold is not life threatening, and there are other OTC medications that will treat your symptoms. So restricted access to pseudophedrine isn’t going to harm anyone. But one more meth lab is definitely harmful to many.
So what does the doper community think?