Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cold & Allergy Meds by Prescription Only? A Recipe for Higher Costs and Violent Crime

Sometimes we face problems to which there are no great - or even good - solutions.  One of those is the abuse of cold and allergy medicines by people who buy them as inputs to methamphetamine.  A few years ago, Oregon attempted an apparently reasonable solution to this problem, buy making pharmacies dispense many of these medicines by prescription only.

Now, California legislators are seeking to replicate this law.  Unfortunately, the harmful consequences to legitimate patients of making these drugs available by prescription only are pretty clear: It adds cost and hassle to acquiring necessary medicines.  The benefits to society - reducing criminal production and abuse of methamphetamine - are far less clear.  The prescription-only rule will likely drive the vile business into the hands of even worse criminals than control it now.

Read the rest of my column in the Sacramento Business Journal (subscription only).

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