WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Tennessee voters, by a 20-point margin (56 to 36 percent), oppose making common cold and allergy medications containing pseudoephedrine (PSE) available by prescription (Rx) only, and nearly two-thirds of respondents (61 percent) who use nonprescription cold and allergy medicines to treat symptoms oppose the proposal. The new poll, which was conducted by North Star Opinion Research and released today by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), also found that nearly three-fifths of Tennessee voters (57%) believe the state’s current anti-meth law, which utilizes real-time, stop-sale technology known as the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), is effective and should be given time to work. Just 33% say the law should be changed.
The new poll comes as Tennessee lawmakers are considering a proposal (House Bill 368) introduced by Representative David Hawk (R-Greeneville) that would require all Tennesseans to obtain a doctor’s prescription before buying safe and effective medicines containing PSE. In addition to the clear majority of Tennessee voters, a number of prominent Tennessee groups, including the Tennessee Pharmacists Association and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, oppose the measure because it would produce a number of unnecessary burdens for law-abiding consumers, healthcare providers, retailers, and the state as a whole.
“Today’s polling results clearly affirm that law-abiding Tennesseans prefer responsible solutions to the methamphetamine problem that don’t make timely access to a wide range of over-the-counter treatment options harder to come by,” said Carlos Gutierrez , senior director of state government affairs for CHPA. “There’s no question that Tennessee still faces an uphill battle against meth production and abuse, but it’s critically important for state leaders to give electronic tracking technology time to work. A prescription mandate would take away a vital tool for tracking and blocking suspicious purchasing activity.”
In January 2012, Tennessee adopted a real-time, stop-sale pseudoephedrine tracking system, NPLEx. The proven system, fully operational in 25 states around the country, allows retailers to automatically block unlawful attempted purchases right at the sales counter. Law enforcement officials, in turn, can track suspicious purchasing activity and collect evidence against suspected meth cooks and dealers. In a little more than one year since implementation, Tennessee’s system has already led directly to thousands of blocked pseudoephedrine sales and numerous meth lab seizures and arrests. Because it targets meth criminals, NPLEx ensures that responsible Tennessee workers and families will continue to have access to the cold and allergy medicines of their choice. As the new poll makes clear, a strong majority of Tennessee voters favors balanced legislation that won’t impose higher costs and other burdens for honest citizens.
The poll was conducted February 4-6, 2013 and included interviews of 600 registered Tennessee voters. The poll has a margin of error of ± 4.00 percent.
CHPA is the 132-year-old-trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.