Allies: meth merchants and big pharma




Also, here.


Very sensationalist but not much meat. Basically, the drug companies don't want to make the drugs prescription only because they know that will hurt sales. Certainly I wouldn't bother going to a doctor every time I got a cold -- I'd just suffer through it for a couple of days. No conspiracy needed.


Pseudoephedrine isn't available OTC. It is available BEHIND the counter. You need to show an ID, and the amount you buy is tracked. If pseudoephedrine drugs are made script only, expect meth cooks to develop new methods of synthesis or to obtain ephedrine directly from the ephedra plant which grows all over North America.

A better solution to the problems of a messy and violent illicit stimulant industry would be to legalize at least one stimulant stronger than caffeine. Make some kind of amphetamine or Modafinil legal without a prescription. It is already an open secret that ADD "treatment" amounts to a performance enhancer for millions of students and professionals. Why not afford those of us without insurance coverage the same access to safer, dose controlled, purity regulated, speed?


How does making it prescription fix the issue?

These are addicts, they will just move on to the next thing (just look at BB's own krokodil article). The only thing that would help is a better infrastructure to reduce the number of addicts not shift them onto something else.


It's more important to give law-abiding citizens easy access to safe, effective drugs (as phenylephrine is anything BUT effective) than it is to prevent misuse of that chemical.


Just like how allowing people to buy Alcohol prevents people from abusing it?

There is really no good solution here.


The other side of that is that the other drug "epidemic" we're apparently in the midst of is one of prescription drug abuse. If every college student I've ever met can easily get big ole cans of adderal I'm sure something as comparatively benign as pseudoephedrin wouldn't be much of a problem.


It was only recently moved behind the counter. I meant "without a prescription." I will clarify.


Pseudoephedrine works in a way that everything else doesn't for a very large fraction of the population. So you want this population to go to a doctor (user paying at least a copay and insurance paying the rest) to get a prescription (more cost still for user and insurance) every time they get a cold or seasonal allergies? I thought we had a goal of controlling health care costs in this country.


Yeah, I'm not sure how making Sudafed prescription-only fixes the problem. We still have Doctor Robert types out there, and only some of them get caught. And there's the doctors who still prescribe antibiotics for the common cold. And so on.

Further, it's disingenuous to single out Sudafed and single it out as something drug companies want legal because of all that sweet, sweet money they're getting from meth labs. I'm guessing the Mother Jones legal team will be busy in the near future. The thing is, drug companies and insurance companies are fighting to make all kinds of drugs over-the-counter. It horrifies me--no really, it horrifies me--to learn that there's an effort to make simvastatin OTC. IANAD, but was on the stuff. You have to have a blood test to determine if you need the stuff, and the side effects can literally be deadly. The stuff damn near killed me; I got past my lipid problem with diet and exercise (gasp!)

Plus, from my own previous work experience, some places were putting the stuff behind-the-counter because the tweakers were just flat-out stealing the stuff. After Illinois made it mandatory, moving Sudafed in high quantities from overseas became big business, and then the notion of shipping palettes of the stuff on the black market became expensive enough that crack made a comeback. Yes, Virginia, in our global economy, cracking down on drug manufacturers in the United States doesn't stop Indian companies from selling product to smugglers.


Yeah because we have done so well keeping all the painkillers out of the hands of drug dealers.

Sorry but I don't feel like having to go the doctor every month and pay $80 for them to write me a script for a perfectly safe drug because a small portion of the population use that drug in an elaborate process to make another drug. We already have far to many drugs that are locked away from people for questionable reasons.

They will just find another way to get what they need. I live in Florida and already went through the joy of having 5 pain management clinics in every strip mall.


Let the junkies make their meth, and let me keep my sinuses clear -is- a good solution.

People will always find a way to abuse things, whether that's using CD-Rs to make pirate copies or screwdrivers to stab folks. Trying to stop it is the crazy part.


How about end the drug war instead?


Doesn't prevent abuse, but it does reduce the harm arising from abuse. We tried prohibition, as you may recall.


Requiring a prescription for Sudafed is fucking ridiculous. It is a relatively safe and damn handy drug to have on hand. I shouldn't need to schedule a doctors appointment to, pay my co-pays, all so that I can get a freaking box of Sudafed.

There is this ridiculous mythology that we can somehow "win" the "war on drugs". We can't. We have tried and failed, and in the process managed to push people to even more horrific drugs like meth. The only thing the "war on drugs" achieves is to make addiction and drug use as painful and as horrific as possible in a lame effort to try and scare people away from the drugs. It doesn't work.

The whole drug war reminds me of "moral" bombing during World War II. There was a theory that if you bomb all of the enemy cities into pulp, they will surrender sooner, and thus save lives in the long run. It didn't work. The bombing didn't cause Britain to surrender. The Allies leveled basically every single German city and the Russians still had a spend a hundred thousand men to take the ruins of Berlin.

The drug war theory is similar. Make it so that the people you deal with are unsavory by making it illegal, make it risky because you have to use a black market that is constantly getting raided, drive up the cost so that addiction drives you into financial ruin. None of this stops anyone from getting drugs. No one ever has their dealer say "Sorry, bro, they turned off the drugs, guess you will have to get sober." They just make the black market as horrific as possible so that the suffering of those people scares off others. It is fucking sick, sadistic, and it doesn't work.


The law in Oregon has made a huge difference. You can purchase lower levels of the drug from behind the counter by asking a pharmacist, or if you need the full strength, you need a prescription. You might think this would do little to deter those making this drug, yet it seems to. I guess asking a professional for your supplies is a bit of a deterrent. In any case, from the time I moved here, I can tell it's made a huge difference. It was not unusual to see a house with a sign saying it was a toxic dump due to the meth lab - I have not seen that in a long time. That said, folks are still using. They are just buying stuff that's shipped here via the I-5 corridor instead of it being made here. Here is a nice analysis of the impact:


Standard rant in a nutshell: Stop price support for organized crime.


Piece of piss to get hold of pure ephedrine, just ask any bodybuilder...


I could almost see the point of making pseudoephedrine prescription-only, if it weren't so damn useful for things other than meth. It is cheap to manufacture, is relatively low risk (aside from the whole meth thing), and it works really well at minimizing the symptoms of the most common ailment in modern society - the common cold. The US is currently shitting itself to death over health care costs, and forcing people to see a doctor every time they need one of the most commonly-used medications is only going to make that worse.