All Laws Have Teeth
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
It’s been five years since the feds took aim at nasal decongestant. Under George Bush, a normal part of everyday civilized life became a criminal act, namely the over-the-counter purchase of Sudafed and many other products containing pseudoephedrine. You can get it now, but it is seriously rationed. You have to present your driver’s license and no one without one may purchase it. The limits on quantities you are permitted to purchase fall far below the recommended dosage, and buyers rarely know when they are buying too much.
The rationing and criminalization of this product appeared as part of the Patriot Act. The replacement drug phenylephrine is far less effective on noses but more effective in Washington: the company that makes it, Boehringer Ingelheim, spent $1.6 million lobbying Washington in 2006 (the latest data) and the same amount the year before. The makers of the drug everyone actually wants are diffuse and spread all over China. Pseudoephedrine was targeted in the name of the drug war because apparently you can use it to make methamphetamine. Since the near ban, there are indications that production of the drug has gone up, mostly due to smuggling in Mexico. Even a quick google demonstrates that the gray market is thriving.