Other Campuses: Sudafed law might be implemented soon

By The Maneater

(U-WIRE) COLUMBIA, Mo. – Stock up on Sudafed now, if you don’t want to show identification the next time you purchase cold medicine.

The Missouri House recently passed a bill that will keep Sudafed and ephedrine products behind the counter and require customers to show photo identification and sign a purchase log when buying the cold medicine.

The General Assembly passed the measure on April 27. The move is an effort to lower methamphetamine production in Missouri, which ranks first in the nation in methamphetamine busts.

The bill will go into effect immediately upon Governor Matt Blunt’s approval. Most new laws will take effect Aug. 28. Store owners, therefore, must prepare for the change.

Ron Leone, a spokesman with the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, said he advised convenience store owners to start decreasing their Sudafed stock and ephedrine product inventory.

Because convenience stores don’t keep large inventories, ridding shops of ephedrine products shouldn’t be a challenge, Leone said.

“Other stores, grocery stores or other things of that nature, they may have more problems associated with the drawdown,” Leone said, explaining that larger stores will have more products to sell before Blunt signs the law.

When discussion of the bill started, Leone said he was concerned that law-abiding citizens would be inconvenienced – or, worse, unable to get needed medication. The bill, however, allows stores without pharmacies to sell liquid and liquid gel cap ephedrine products.

“We wanted to make sure that convenience stores, who I represent, could continue to sell at least some sort of cold medicine for law-abiding citizens,” Leone said.

Because it is difficult to produce methamphetamines from the ingredients in liquid gel caps or liquid cold medicine, the bill only restricts the sale of starch-coated Sudafed tablets.

Pharmacies are already required to keep Sudafed behind the counter; customers, however, do not need to show photo identification when purchasing the medication.

– Molly Fergus

Although the change would be a new statewide law, some pharmacies have already begun to restrict the sale of Sudafed, and most have at least some sort of policy regarding the medication.

Walgreens pharmacist Bob Pryor said employees require customers to show identification when buying Sudafed or ephedrine products.

“Our policy’s stricter than the one the state has,” Pryor said. “We’ve been doing that a lot longer. We’ve been doing that just to keep people from abusing it. Somebody walks in and asks for some Sudafed, and you ask for a photo ID. If they’re not using it for legitimate purposes, they’re surely not interested in giving you their photo ID.”

Pryor said he has heard complaints regarding the policy but said most customers are willing to show identification after the policy is explained.

“Once you explain it to them, somebody that’s using it for legitimate purposes, they have no problem with the photo ID,” Pryor said.

Regardless of customer complaints, Blunt spokeswoman Jessica Robinson said limiting the amount of methamphetamines produced in Missouri is important.

“The only problems we’re looking for are people who are producing meth,” Robinson said. “We hope this makes it a problem for them to get the ingredients they need.”

Molly Fergus