The West Virginia House of Delegates approved a measure allowing counties to pass provisions that would require a prescription to buy a pseudoephedrine-based product.
The measure was amended into Senate Bill 6, originally intended to create a statewide law to require a prescription.
The Senate passed the bill with slight changes. However, the House Judiciary Committee drastically changed the measure, removing the prescription-only requirement while cutting in half the amount of pseudoephedrine-based products, like Sudafed, anyone can buy in a year.
House Health and Human Resources Committee Chairman Don Perdue, D-Wayne, attempted to change the bill back to the way it was when passed by the Senate. A retired pharmacist, Perdue argued the prescription provision is the the only way to effectively combat the spread of methemphetamine labs in the state.
Pseudoephedrine is the key ingredient in meth production.
The amendment garnered close to two hours of debate. Delegates from both sides of the aisle spoke in favor and against Perdue’s proposed change. Those who spoke in support said they felt is would curb the spread of meth and meth labs, which can and do explode.
Those opposed to the prescription-only idea said it harms people who legally use Sudafed-like products by causing cost to rise with little benefit.
The amendment failed by a 42 to 53 vote, with five members not voting.
The county proposal, co-sponsored by Delegates John Shott, R-Mercer, and Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, allows local commissions the ability to enact prescription-only laws for their counties. That is currently prohibited under state law. It passed by a voice vote.
Another provision, aimed at preventing “smurfing”–the purchasing of the product for others to make into meth–also passed. A provision that would created a $1 fee for the purchase of every Sudafed-like product failed.
The measure now goes back to the Senate. If the Senate doesn’t agree with the changes, the bill could “die” or go to a conference committee.
Saturday is the final day of the legislative session.