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Some Still Oppose Toned-Down Meth Bill

WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

  Last week, members of Tennessee’s House Criminal Justice Subcommittee passed a toned-down version of Governor Bill Haslam’s Anti-Meth Production Act.  But some opponents of the bill say the new version is still too restrictive.

Haslam’s proposal would limit individuals to 14.4 grams of the popular allergy and cold medicine pseudoephedrine per year.  Any amount beyond that limit would require a prescription.  Under pressure from pharmaceutical companies and groups like the American Association of Retired Persons, House members increased the limit to 44.8 grams per year.  

That may not be enough.  AARP Communications Director Tara Shaver tells WUOT News.  “It's all about access for our members and their families,” says Shaver, “and an issue about being able to get the medications that we need when we need them.” 

Shaver says any measure that forces older patients to get a prescription for pseudoephedrine will make them shell out more in co-pays.  In addition, she says it can be difficult for the elderly to arrange rides to the doctor’s office and the pharmacy.  “In Tennessee, there are many individuals who really need to be on this daily in order to have a good quality of life.”

Haslam says he hasn’t given up on his more restrictive proposal yet.  “If you talk to most law enforcement officials, they would say that the limits we set are a lot more likely to make a big difference to what’s a big problem in Tennessee,” Haslam told the Associated Press. “I think our bill will live to see another day and we feel good about its long-term prospects.”

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will discuss the matter one more time at its final meeting on March 18.