Calif. Senate passes pseudoephedrine bill, receives opposition from CHPA
NEW YORK Attempting to curtail methamphetamine production by more or less eliminating the precursor ingredient pseudoephedrine from the market is kind of like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. PSE is a legitimate self-care option that is, according to general consensus, more effective than the other cough-cold decongestant on the market — phenylephrine. And restricting access to that self-care option hurts legitimate consumers more than it does meth cooks. But more on that in a second.
The fact of the matter is it may be a mistake to force consumers into a doctor’s office for more-effective cold-symptom relief, especially at a time when physician access is already an issue and the cost surrounding that physician access — including the office visit and the prescription-drug cost, not to mention the time — is a top concern among consumers.
The reality of the matter is that the 36.8 million California residents, who comprise 12.1% of the U.S. population and make up approximately 11.7% of national retail sales, may just simply buy less PSE. At best that means the average cold sufferer will suffer slightly more from their symptoms. At worst, it means that suffering will translate into more sick days utilized and lower productivity statewide.
Another significant consequence is the cost that would be borne by retailers and manufacturers, both in lost PSE sales and an added cost in detailing doctors around a decongestant that’s been available OTC for quite some time.
So here’s the kicker — further restricting access to PSE by reverse switching it to prescription-only status may not have any greater impact on the production, sale or abuse of meth than the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. To be sure, CMEA did have a significant impact — the number of meth-related lab seizures in the Southwest region plummeted from 1,178 in 2004 to 155 last year, citing National System Seizure data through Nov. 4. While lab seizures were down, meth use remained constant — meth-addicts just sourced their drug of choice from somewhere else.
Mexico had become that primary source of meth to U.S. users through mid-2008, which is about the time that country began cracking down on the distribution of the meth precursor PSE. So now the practice of “smurfing,” buying the legal limit in PSE across adjacent pharmacies, is again becoming prevalent in Southwest states like California. And for that, there is already a solution that would maintain OTC access to legitimate cold sufferers — the electronic logbook.
Rite Aid Foundation donates $10,000 to help flood victims
CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Wednesday announced that the Rite Aid Foundation is making a $10,000 donation to the American Red Cross to help the victims, families and communities affected by the floods in Mingo and surrounding counties in the western section of West Virginia.
“Our hearts go out to the victims, families and communities affected by these devastating floods,” stated Gayle Rife, manger of the Rite Aid Foundation. “We are hoping that our donation can help make it just a little easier for those who have been impacted the most.”
“The West Virginia spirit truly comes alive when the worst things happen to our fellow citizens,” commented W.V. Gov. Joe Manchin. “We all pitch in when disaster strikes and help our neighbors to recover. I commend Rite Aid for being a good corporate citizen and helping the American Red Cross with its efforts to get the flood victims of southern West Virginia back on their feet. I challenge other corporations that are financially able, to donate and help those who need it the most.”
Rite Aid currently operates 21 stores and a distribution center in Mingo, Putnam and Kanawha Counties.
BJ’s reports growth in merchandise sales
NATICK, Mass. BJ’s Wholesale Club reported that annual comparable-club sales, excluding gasoline sales, for May have increased by 4% since this time last year.
Increased sales reflect consumer transition to wholesale clubs as a means of obtaining food and other necessities at a lower cost.
“Our merchandise comparable club sales increase of 4% was a good result in this economy, although it was slightly below our guidance,” said president and CEO Laura Sen. “Traffic continued strong, increasing by 5% over last year. Overall, May sales results reflected continued strength in food and consumables, televisions and computer equipment, partly offset by ongoing softness in discretionary departments such as apparel, jewelry and sporting goods, and a slightly increased impact from price deflation in certain areas of perishable foods.”