CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Legislation designed to hamper the manufacture of methamphetamine in West Virginia will be up for a passage vote Tuesday in the Senate, after lawmakers on Monday rejected proposed changes backed by drug industry lobbyists.
The bill (SB6) would require people to get a doctor's prescription before they could buy most cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key meth-making ingredient.
Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, tried to amend the bill by removing the prescription requirement and reducing the amount of pseudoephedrine people could buy each year from about 20 boxes to 10 boxes. The medicine is sold under brand names such as Sudafed and Claritin-D.
Carmichael said West Virginia already has a prescription drug problem, and making the cold medication available by prescription only wouldn't eradicate meth labs.
"Each one of us stands for stopping the problem, but I don't think this solves the problem at all," he said.
Carmichael proposed setting up a meth-offender registry and banning criminals convicted of meth-related crimes from purchasing the cold medicine.
Carmichael's proposed changes also would have preserved a pseudoephedrine tracking system called NPLEx, which police use to investigate meth crimes. The drug industry funds the system.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, an Arlington, Va.-based group that lobbies for drug manufacturers, has supported Carmichael's proposals.
On a voice vote, the Senate rejected Carmichael's amendment.
"It will do nothing to stop the meth lab problem," said Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha.
Law enforcement officers seized 533 meth labs in West Virginia last year, nearly double the 287 labs found in 2012.