CHARLESTON, W.Va., Jan. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On Monday afternoon, Carlos Gutierrez, senior director of state government affairs for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) joined West Virginia Delegate Don Perdue and former Delegate Dr. Dan Foster for a panel discussion hosted by the Associated Press. The panel, which took place at the South Charleston campus of Marshall University as part of the AP's Legislative Lookahead event, focused on West Virginia's battle with methamphetamine production and abuse, as well as the illegal diversion of safe and effective cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE).
During the discussion, Gutierrez touted the initial success of West Virginia's new real-time, stop-sale technology known as the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx). The system allows pharmacists to automatically block unlawful PSE purchases at the sales counter and provides law enforcement officials with critical criminal data in real time and across state lines. Police officers and narcotics agents can even receive instant email alerts when suspects attempt to purchase PSE.
"There is no question that meth-related crime remains an unacceptable problem facing law enforcement officials and local communities throughout West Virginia," Gutierrez said. "West Virginia leaders are rightfully focused on this critical issue at the outset of the legislative session. Our hope is that rather than advancing a prescription requirement for all West Virginians, which would impose higher costs and lead to fewer healthcare choices for responsible citizens, that they give the NPLEx system more time to work and focus on responsible ways to enhance current anti-meth laws, such as requiring a prescription of meth criminals."
As of November 15, 2013, in its first year of operation, West Virginia's NPLEx system has blocked nearly 17,000 boxes of PSE from being potentially diverted by meth criminals. At the event, Gutierrez urged West Virginia leaders to allow more time for law enforcement officials to become fully acclimated with the system so that the technology can become even more effective and more criminals can be put behind bars.
"We can and will make progress against meth," Gutierrez continued, "but we owe it to West Virginia consumers to rally around constructive solutions that target meth criminals, not honest taxpayers and families."
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 133-year-old trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to promoting the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in America's healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy.
SOURCE Consumer Healthcare Products Association