The Iowa Senate has passed a bill which might establish an electronic database to track the sale of one of the ingredients for an illegal drug.
A few years ago, legislators passed a law which moved over-the-counter medications which contain "pseudoephedrine" behind the pharmacist’s counter. It also set new limits on how much can be purchased at one time and forced those who buy the products to sign a log book.
Authorities, though, fear some meth-makes go from pharmacy to pharmacy, buying up huge quantities, and the bill that passed the Senate Monday would require people to sign an "electronic logbook" to better track bulk purchases.
Senator Steven Sodders, a Democrat from State Center, says there’s been a recent uptick in the number of illegal meth labs in the state. "Seeings that we’ve had an increase of about 13 percent in labs, I think this will be a good bill," Sodders says.
Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, was among the six "no" votes on the bill. "It violates the medical privacy of tens of thousands of innocent Iowa families, Iowa families whose only crime was that someone in their family caught a head cold," Quirmbach says. "To have the state government gathering this vast amount of data on innocent citizens I think is a very troublesome development."
But Senator David Hartsuch, a Republican from Bettendorf who was an E.R. doctor, says an electronic database isn’t that much of a stretch for pharmacies. "Prescription drugs, actually, that information is tracked," Hartsuch said.
The bill now goes to the Iowa House for review. However, the bill doesn’t provide the money for the statewide "electronic logbook" for pharmacies. Lawmakers are hoping for a $750,000 federal grant to finance it instead.