Lawmaker seeks tighter restrictions on some cold medicines

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Just as we hit the cold and flu season, a state lawmaker wants to make it harder to buy cold medicine.

State Representative Rebecca Kubacki wants to make it illegal to get over-the-counter drugs like Sudafed and Claritin without a prescription. The move is behind an ingredient called pseudoephedrine.

While that ingredient might treat your cold symptoms, it's also one of the main ingredients to make meth.

"I'd probably deal with a cold longer," says Brad Haney about being forced to get a prescription for cold medicine he can buy right now over the counter.

"I go to the pharmacist counter and present my ID which is fine. That's not inconvenient. It's not any additional cost. And so that I don't mind," says Haney.

To buy cold medicine with pseudoephedrine in it, people in Indiana must show their ID and sign for it. Then their name goes into an electronic database which tracks how much pseudoephedrine someone is buying.

"It at least puts a barrier for improper use but still allows convenience for those who are using it legally," says Haney.

Now, State Representative Rebecca Kubacki wants to require a prescription to buy the same kind of medicine because of the money meth labs are costing the state.

"My concern would be the accessibility of medication for the patient at a time of need," says Dr. Hamid Abbaspour at Doctor Aziz Pharmacy.

Abbaspour worries how some patients would get the extra money and time needed for a doctors visit to get their cold medicine. He says the current pseudoephedrine monitoring system isn't perfect, but he prefers it to this new proposal.

"Personally, I think they need to give the system a little bit more time," says Abbaspour.

Under the database system, meth labs are an ongoing problem in Indiana.

So far this year, state police have busted just 1401 meth labs, at a cost of over $2.1 million.

During 2011, police dealt with 1437 meth labs and spent $2 million to do it.

Some people say a doctor's prescription won't stop those who want to make meth.

"Those who probably want to do illegal things are gonna find out just another way of doing it and I don't want to be penalized for their mistakes," says Haney.

The proposal is scheduled to be introduced shortly. Kubacki was behind a similar proposal in 2010, but it failed.