Oregon ends prescription for pseudoephedrine medicines
Oregon will be the last state to end its requirement for a prescription for medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine under a bill that is headed to Gov. Kate Brown.
The Senate passed without amendment House Bill 2648 on a 27-2 vote Monday, June 7.
Under it, such products still would be kept behind the store counter — and people 18 and older would have to show photo identification to purchase them. Although the bill has an emergency clause, the new requirements take effect Jan. 1. 2022.
The requirement for a prescription was written into law in 2005, when people were buying medicines containing pseudoephedrine — a precursor chemical — for use in making methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant that is illegal. Oregon was the first state to do so, and its law took effect in 2006. But only Mississippi retained a similar law, which its legislature has just repealed.
Virtually all other states rely on a system known as the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) to track purchases from pharmacies and elsewhere.
Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer, was the chief sponsor along with Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland. Post said the law was necessary when lawmakers passed it back in 2005, but he has been trying to get rid of the prescription requirement for years.
"Third time is the charm to pass this common-sense bill which will help Oregonians looking for a quick and affordable remedy for allergies and head colds," Post said in a statement issued after the Senate vote. "People shouldn't be asked to visit a doctor to obtain a prescription for common cold medicine, especially when Oregon is the only state requiring a prescription. We can trust Oregonians more than that."
Homegrown labs manufacturing meth were prevalent in Oregon back then, but manufacturing of the drug has switched to Mexico. Methamphetamine remains illegal, although under a ballot measure Oregon voters passed last year, possession of small amounts is no longer a crime.
Ephedrine is banned as a performance-enhancing drug by college sports and some professional sports leagues.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.