The Herald-Leader's June 5 editorial on the Consumer Healthcare Products Association's participation in the ongoing debate over access to popular and reliable cold and allergy medicines containing pseudo ephedrine was misleading on several fronts.
Specifically, the editorial makes no mention of the role Kentuckians played in the debate or the considerable burdens they would face under a prescription requirement for these medicines.
Since January, citizens have sent more than 6,700 letters to Kentucky lawmakers. Similarly, more than 12,000 Kentucky Facebook fans have been closely following the debate and speaking out about the issue. (We invite your readers to visit Facebook.com/stopmethnotmedsky.)
These letters were from Kentucky residents concerned about what a prescription mandate would mean for them and their families. They are concerned about increased costs of health care and fuel, lost wages and long wait times at the doctor's office. The editorial, however, makes no mention of these legitimate concerns.
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Perhaps most troubling about the editorial is the assertion that a "huge portion of the pseudoephedrine sold in Kentucky is used to make meth."
Prescription-mandate proponents have made similar claims in the past, but as in this case, what you don't see is any evidence to back up this contention.
The fact is, there is no conclusive evidence that tells us how much pseudo ephedrine is being diverted by meth cooks. The data available on this matter actually dispute the editorial's claim.
In 2010, for instance, the Kentucky legislature's own bipartisan research arm, the Legislative Research Commission, found that only 2 percent of pseudoephedrine purchases were being diverted to manufacturing meth.
The Herald-Leader is correct that "smurfing" is a serious concern in the state. However, Kentucky law enforcement officials already have an industry-funded system — at no charge to the state — that helps them stop illegal sales and crack down on meth-related behavior in real time.
Police officers can see, for instance, if one individual is buying pseudoephedrine at multiple stores or if one pharmacy is selling an unusually high volume at a particular time. Criminals are caught, and responsible citizens are protected. And lawmakers continue to refine this system.
For example, this year they added the ability to block pseudoephedrine sales outright to meth offenders. This, too, was not adequately mentioned in the paper's editorial.
This is an important debate; Kentuckians deserve practical, effective responses to the meth problem. We all share a common goal of eliminating the use of illegal drugs that hurt our children and our communities. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association will continue to work toward that end while advocating for access by law-abiding citizens to safe and effective medicines they rely on for relief.