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We had a story last Friday about how the Oregon House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed legislation that would make many cold medicines prescription-only – a response to the use of pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in medicines such as Sudafed and Sinutab, to make methamphetamine, an illegal and addictive drug.

The bill now goes to the state Senate, where it is expected to pass, and then to Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who is expected to sign it.

While Oregon already restricts the sale of pseudoephedrine-based cold medicines to pharmacies and requires that they be sold from behind the counter only to customers who show ID, this step would further restrict access to these products.

To which one MNB user responded:

This situation is completely out of control!!!!

This decision flies in the face of everyone's efforts to decrease health care costs. How many times have you heard doctors complain that patients come in just for the common cold. So instead of being able to self-treat a minor cold, now you have to see your doctor. There are lots of people out there who just take Sudafed and go to work...So the geniuses in Oregon have decided to force people to miss work, see a doctor and be sick even longer as well as burden the health care system.

This is a classic example of the tail wagging the dog. Government logic at its best...99% of people use the drug appropriately so let's inconvenience and punish them for the under whelming minority's behavior. It's absurd, especially since this would include all the just released to OTC loratadine-pseudophedrine combinations.

Perfect...well done, Oregon!

MNB user Mark Hunter wrote:

Isn't there an old saying "patient heal thyself?" Oregon is doing all they can to make the cost of health care even more expensive by requiring a doctor to be involved. I'd sure like to own a drug store just across the border from Portland....clearly business will be picking up.

MNB user Jeff Waldron wrote:

The knee-jerk reaction of government bodies to people in society who have found a way to misuse a particular product is amazing. While nobody would argue with the fact that these cold medicines are being misused, and nobody would argue that stopping the misuse would be beneficial, we all should be very careful about supporting government actions like the ones taking place around the country today.

The old slippery slope discussion must enter into the overall discussion here. Since people are known to “huff” gasoline, should we require a restriction on the sale? Perhaps require us to report mileage traveled to determine if we really need that gasoline? We all could name item after item that are being misused by some, and thus would need greater control from “Big Brother.” Where will it stop?

Giving more and more control to government, while requiring less and less personal responsibility, is a recipe for the loss of free society as we have come to know it. It will ultimately kill the entrepreneurial spirit that has helped to make this country and economy the most prosperous on earth.

When I read George Orwell’s book “1984,” I thought what a stretch the author was making from what was actually happening in our country to what he was writing about. Some of the government control issues seemed completely ridiculous to me (when I read the book in 1980). Now, I’m beginning to wonder…

MNB user Jarrett Buckholz observed:

This story raises several questions for me...What selection will Oregon residents then have as to brand of cold medicine they choose? Is this going to eliminate competition in that market? What about generic brand cold medicines as the cheaper alternative, will they disappear? Please keep us updated on this story, because this move could become widespread if they see any bit of success with it.

We promise.

It seems to us that this is an area in which most retailers have done a responsible job of self-regulation – almost everyone in the business seems to have decided to put these medicines behind the counter for purchase purposes, meaning that they limit how much you can buy, you have the ask a pharmacist to get the product, but you don’t need to have a prescription from a doctor.

Seems responsible to us.

Until there is clear evidence that all these steps are not working, the government just ought to keep its eyes open and its mouth shut.

And finally, one MNB user wrote:

Ya gotta love the folks in Oregon. A few years ago possession of less than an ounce marijuana was decriminalized to a misdemeanor. If this bill passes it will now be more difficult to get cold medicine for your family than a joint.

The question is, can you get a Willie Nelson album with a picture of a marijuana plant on it easier than you can get cold medicine?
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