Lawmakers 'appalled' over drug makers' ads urging opposition to pseudoephedrine bill

02/16/2012 04:07 PM

Lawmakers and drug makers are trading words over the bill to curtail methamphetamine production and use by putting cold medicines with pseudoephedrine behind the counter.

As that bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 6-5 on Thursday, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association launched a one-minute radio ad featuring Pat Davis, the wife of Republican Congressman Geoff Davis of Northern Kentucky’s 4th District.

The central argument from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and from consumers is that it would restrict access and cost more because Kentuckians would have to go to the doctor and pay a co-pay to get the prescription.

The industry group, which represents manufacturers of over-the-counter drugs, paid for several months worth of ads against the prescription-only approach in 2011.

But several lawmakers said the drug makers were being disingenuous by making people think the bill would restrict access to all cold medicines. The legislation only applies to certain brands that contain pseudoephedrine and makes an exemption for liquid gel caps.

Sen. Ray Jones, a Democrat from Pikeville, called out the drug makers, saying the industry “should be ashamed of itself.”

And Sen. Tom Jensen, a London Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the financial argument the drug makers are using doesn’t tell the whole story. Kentuckians are losing millions in tax money and health care costs to clean up meth labs and treat victims of lab explosions and fires.

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