Regulating Medication to Benefit Pharmacies

H.3160 is a reintroduction of last session’s H.4737. H.3160 would mandate that any medication containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine be available for purchase only with a prescription. Pharmacists would store the applicable medications and sell them to those with prescriptions. On its face this is a regulation designed to hinder the production of illegal narcotics as each of the drug components listed above can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. South Carolina already has laws on the books addressing this problem however, as individuals cannot purchase more than a designated quantity of these drugs in a day or month and must provide identification when making their purchase.

Once we consider the source of the legislation it is easy to be suspicious of the true motivations behind the bill. H.3160 just like H.4737 was introduced by Kit Spires, a pharmacy owner who has a history of introducing bills related to pharmacies. This bill may or may not make the manufacture of certain narcotics more difficult but it would have two other effects, the desirability of which are highly questionable. First, the bill would likely be a money maker for Spires and other pharmacists by forcing people to purchase certain drugs exclusively at their businesses. Second, this regulation would make it more difficult for sick citizens to get the medication they need.

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