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DEA to Ban Bulk Sales of Popular Drug

August 6, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Drug Enforcement Administration plans to ban bulk sales of a popular over-the-counter cold and allergy pill, hoping to shut down dealers who are converting it into illegal drugs.

The DEA plans to issue new regulations in Wednesday’s Federal Register restricting sales of pseudoephedrine, spokeswoman Rogene Waite said Monday.

The new rules should not affect consumers who buy the pills generically or under brand names such as Sudafed.

``The consumer-type quantities for allergy and cold sufferers won’t be affected at all,″ Waite said.

The DEA is hoping to shut down criminals who are converting the pills into an addictive drug called methamphetamine, also known as meth, speed or crank. During recent DEA raids, 38 percent of labs were found to be producing the drug, Waite said.

The drug is most popular in California but is spreading east, having already popped up in Arizona and Iowa, she said.

Until now, massive numbers of pills could be bought from wholesale distributors, retail stores or by mail order.

Under the new rules, to take effect Oct. 7, consumers will only be able to buy a 244-day supply of the drug. Those who sell more must register with the DEA and keep records.

The Nonprescription Drug Manufacturers Association opposes the rule.

``If the cashier makes a mistake, the store is subject to civil fines and criminal violations,″ association counsel Kevin Kraushaar told USA Today in a story in Tuesday editions.

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