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Mississippi lawmakers consider doing away with prescription requirement on pseudoephedrine

Mississippi lawmakers consider doing away with prescription requirement on pseudoephedrine
Mississippi lawmakers consider doing away with prescription requirement on pseudoephedrine
Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 6:10 PM CST
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published February 25, 2021 at 11:03 PM CST - Updated February 26 at 8:18 AM on wlbt.com)

JACKSON, Miss. (Great Health Divide) - Mississippi is one of only two states still requiring a prescription for medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

But the legislature is weighing the option of allowing you to buy medicine like Claritin-D or others containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine without a prescription.

“Pharmacies would have to use some software that tracks the amount you’ve purchased,” described Senator Joey Fillingange who filed Senate Bill 2119. “You can’t just jump from pharmacy A and B and C and D and just stockpile. There’s a limit of 3.6 grams a day that you can purchase in Mississippi or 7.2 for the whole month. So, you can’t pharmacy hop and stockpile it for yourself.”

It’s those type precautions that have led to a long-time advocate for the prescription requirement Senator Brice Wiggins to change his mind.

“I always understood people’s desire to be able to access ephedrine and pseudoephedrine,” described Wiggins. “My personal belief has been there are other cold medicines out there. But I realize and I’ve heard the people. That being said, I wasn’t prepared to go along with it until I knew the precautions were in place.”

Wiggins’ reservations stemmed from his time prosecuting meth cases while serving as an assistant DA for Jackson, George and Greene counties.

“People were putting not only themselves in danger, they were putting others and their children,” added Wiggins.

Ridgeland Police Chief John Neal also serves as the President of the Mississippi Association of Chiefs. He says they were on board with getting the law passed back in 2010.

“It was not uncommon for us 7 or 8 or 10 years ago to stop vehicles on traffic stops and them have 25-30 containers of up to 48 pills per container in their car and that’s not to treat the common cold,” said Neal.

Neal says the law has worked as intended but the association is in support of the change because it maintains some regulations.

“Do we still have meth issues in Mississippi? Of course we do,” noted Neal. “Drugs are out there but we’re not seeing it like we did 5, 6, 7 years ago.”

The House passed HB 479 and it has been sent to the Senate. Meanwhile, the Senate passed SB 2119 that’s awaiting committee review in the House. They are mirror bills that would both set up the same structure for monitoring while also eliminating the prescription requirement.

Great Health Divide is an initiative addressing health disparities in the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia funded in part by the Google News Initiative.

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