Attempt to limit allergy drug purchases to 6-month supply voted down in Indiana House

Proposed bill's limit currently 8-month supply

INDIANAPOLIS - An attempt to make the allergy medicine bill much more strict was voted down at the Statehouse Thursday.

The Senate has passed a bill restricting your access to drugs containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, but an attempt was made Thursday in the House to make that bill even tougher.

The Senate-passed bill would restrict Hoosiers to an eight-month supply over the counter before they would have to go to their doctor for a prescription, but since those purchases are tracked by driver's licenses, children's drugs are counted on their parents' records, meaning some families could hit the limit long before eight months. 

Still, some lawmakers favor an even more severe restriction, limiting purchases to six months' worth.

"This is not an unreasonable amount. This is supposed to be for seasonal allergies," said Rep. Ron Bacon, R-Chandler.

Bacon said he is aware that some people take allergy remedies on a regular, daily basis.

"Yes, I do know that, and I have a number of patients who do that also," he said. "But they are under a physician's care, and the reason being, because it can affect your blood pressure. It can cause some kidney issues."

The bill's sponsor opposed the lower limit, saying it was getting close to making these full prescription drugs, which would be too big of a hardship, especially on families.

"What this amendment is trying to do is getting us closer to say we are going to penalize all those people who want to use it for legitimate purposes because there are folks out there who want to use it for a bad purpose," said Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville. "And I just don't think that's an appropriate direction to go."

One lawmaker said the proposed limits wouldn't take reality into account.

"We have two allergy and sinus seasons in Indiana -- one in the fall, one in the spring," Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, said. "So this would not take care of a family who has any kind of allergy problems. It would require them to go to the doctor. It would require them to get a prescription."

The amendment was defeated in a voice vote, in which it appeared only two or three members voted for the lower limit. 

House Speaker Brian Bosma said that he couldn't recall an amendment that got such a tiny response.

The House is expected to cast a final vote on the drug bill next week.

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