A state Senate committee has endorsed new restrictions on the sale of common cold medications, but didn’t go as far as Governor Vilsack wanted. The governor wants to put all drugs that contain pseudoephedrine — an ingredient used to make meth — behind the counter and force customers to ask a pharmacist for the medication. The committee instead voted to put over-the-counter medications with a heavy dose of pseudoephedrine behind the pharmacist’s counter, but cold remedies with a lesser amount of pseudoephedrine may still be sold in grocery and convenience stores. However, the person who buys it will have to ask a clerk to get it from behind a counter and then he or she will have to sign a log book. Senator Bob Brunkhorst, a republican from Waverly, says he wants to make sure a rural family with a sick kid can buy some over-the-counter cold medication on the weekend, but he doesn’t want a meth-maker to be able to buy a whole bunch of it. “Rural folks will be able to buy this in their retail stores. They won’t have as much selection, but they’ll have some opportunity to…buy this on weekends or at night,” he says. Senator Keith Kreimen, a democrat from Bloomfield. “We don’t think this is a perfect bill, but we’re very hopeful we’ll achieve everybody’s ultimate goal and that is of course to dramatically decrease the number of meth labs in the state,” Kreiman says. Legisaltors admit that some small stores may quit selling cold remedies because of the hassle of putting ’em behind the counter. The next stop for the bill is in the full Senate. A committee in the Iowa House is working on similar legislation.
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