Debate over Oklahoma pseudoephedrine legislation way over the top
Perhaps it was inevitable that discussion would turn to nasty rhetoric as lawmakers debated a bill requiring a prescription for what is now an over-the-counter cold medicine. Still, that doesn't make it any less disappointing.
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House Bill 2375 by Rep. Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa, was defeated 7-6 in the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday. The bill would have required consumers to obtain a prescription in order to buy the tablet form of pseudoephedrine, which is found in such decongestants as Sudafed and Claritin-D. Pseudoephedrine also is a key ingredient in making methamphetamine, the highly addictive drug that is a major problem in Oklahoma.
On Monday, the state's 27 district attorneys implored lawmakers to approve prescription legislation, making sure to blast pharmaceutical companies that opposed the legislation. Those companies “are more concerned with profit than they are about people's lives,” Tulsa County DA Tim Harris said.
On Tuesday, Rep. Doug Cox, R-Grove, scolded fellow members to “get out of your country club world” and go see the effects that meth use is having in Oklahoma. Cox has seen it firsthand as an emergency room physician, and we honor his work, but calling sales of pseudoephedrine — a legal product — “blood money for the pharmaceutical companies” was beyond the pale.