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Restrictions in the HBC Category?

PHOENIX -- Following the example set last year by Oklahoma, government officials in Arizona and Iowa are considering tighter restrictions on the retail sale of cold and allergy medicines, in an effort to curtail the production of methamphetamine in those states.

Addicts and drug traffickers use cold medicines that contain psuedoephedrine as part of recipes to make the highly addictive, illegal methamphetamine stimulant.

Oklahoma's restrictions include limiting sales of cold and allergy medicine containing meth ingredients to stores with pharmacies; requiring those sales to be at the pharmacy counter and written in a logbook to track frequent customers; and allowing sales only to adults with photo identification, with limits on quantities purchased.

Similar proposals are expected to surface at the Arizona Legislature when it reconvenes in January, Michelle Ahlmer, executive director of the Arizona Retailers Association, told The Business Journal of Phoenix.

Arizona retailers are worried the Oklahoma measure goes too far by requiring strict standards even for stores without meth problems. They also fear it will inconvenience consumers, since convenience and grocery stores without pharmacies would not be able to sell cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine.

"The ordinary consumer is going to be disadvantaged. It is too restrictive," said Ahlmer, whose group does support statutory restrictions on how much customers can buy.

In Iowa, a similar measure supported by Gov. Tom Vilsack has received the approval of state law enforcement officials, but faces an uphill battle from the state legislature.

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