The other day I tried to buy my favorite allergy medicine — Claritin-D 24 Hour — and I was treated like a criminal drug dealer by my pharmacist as if I were detained on a Citizen’s Arrest while waiting for incarceration and prosecution.
I wasn’t handcuffed or fingerprinted, but I was detained and required to show my state-issued photo ID as well as a major credit card. I also had to sign my name and provide my address in a pharmacy book before they’d take my money and sell me my “over-the-counter behind-the-counter” allergy relief medicine. I was only allowed to purchase 10 pills.
What is going on here? Why the rigmarole trying to feel better when last year you could buy allergy drugs without the hassle from The Man? Here’s how Claritin’s website tries to deflect the Federal Death Blow to their product:
The fall allergy season is upon us. And while the “Allergy and Cold Relief” aisle may not look different at first glance, there are significant changes for you to deal with. Any of the allergy or cold decongestant still available on the shelves do not contain pseudoephedrine (PSE). Many have been reformulated to remove PSE and now contain phenylephrine (PE) and are labeled to be taken every four hours.The product s that are missing from the shelf, the long lasting, including 12 and 24 hour formulas, containing pseudoephedrine, are now in a new location, just a few steps away. Federal legislation takes effect on September 30, 2006 that imposes a deadline on moving allergy and cold products containing the active ingredient pseudoephedrine (PSE) off store shelves and placing them behind the pharmacy or customer service counter. This legislation will make it harder to find longer lasting allergy and cold decongestants. Interestingly, many allergy and cold sufferers surveyed were unaware of the changes both in the law and on the shelf product reformulations.
Now I get it. The removal of my allergy medicine from easy reach and purchase is being done for my own good. Fight the allergy medicine meth dealers behind the pharmacy counter so we won’t have to fight them at home with a Neti Pot and kosher salt! Pharmacists are fighting back against this indecent law — by refusing to stock medicines like Claritin-D 24 because they don’t want the hassle of prosecuting you in their stores!
So instead of an outright ban on the sale of these medications by law, the government has, in effect, banned them by default anyway by making the process for purchase so difficult and niggly that no honest consumer wants wade through the procurement demons and no pharmacy wants to stock the product and collect the ID and address information on their beloved, and non-guilty, customers. ABC News provided these international thoughts on the restrictions:
Pharmacists say a Federal Government proposal to impose a blanket ban on pseudoephedrine is a bad idea. The Minister for Ageing, Christopher Pyne, is seeking advice on whether a ban would be workable, saying it would significantly disrupt the manufacture of illegal methamphetamines such as ecstasy.Mr Pyne says while there are more than 280 products that contain pseudoephedrine, alternatives are available. But Ian Todd from the Pharmacy Guild says it would deny the public a useful medicine while failing to target the main source of the problem. “Pseudoephedrine’s a very valuable chemical for those people in the community that want to treat all sorts of things, coughs, colds, hay fever, those sorts of things,” he said. “A blanket ban is probably not going to stop the problem – there’s a large amount of pseudoephedrine-based product that comes in though Customs.”
Other voices like mine on the web are speaking up and out about this wacky “Just Say No to Customers” policy!
This happened to me too. I went to a Duane Reade in NYC last night to get some cough medicine. I asked for extra strength and they said it was all behind the counter, which was locked because it was late at night.Then when I took regular strength DayQuil to the counter, they carded me. Apparently its dangerous to buy The Daytime, Non-Drowsy, Congested-Stuffy Head, Sore Throat, Cough, Aching, Fever So You Can Make Meth in Your Basement Medicine.
Are there better ways to fight rising drug addictions and meth crimes than punishing the good of us — the innocent among us — who don’t bother anyone, but who prefer to breathe out of non-stuffy noses each day without getting purchase restrictions put on their allergy medicine purchases?
What good comes from the criminalization and demonization of the naive to punish the guilty? When will Dust-Off be required by law to be held behind the counter pending photo-ID verification?