Tennessee legislators have PSE choice between NPLEx and Rx-only

NASHVILLE — Tennessee may be the next state to adopt an electronic tracking tool to enforce pseudoephedrine sales restrictions and combat methamphetamine production in real time.

Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, and Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, on Thursday introduced legislation that calls for the adoption of a statewide, industry-funded electronic tracking system, called the National Precursor Log Exchange, to monitor and stop illicit purchases of PSE. The bill provides an alternative, less-intrusive solution to the prescription-only bill (HB 181) introduced last week.

“This kind of government intrusion in our lives is not the solution we need to attack the meth problem in Tennessee,” Beavers stated. "We should not punish the tens of thousands of innocent Tennesseans who need this over-the-counter medication to get at the criminals who are using the drug illegally to produce meth when there is another approach which is very effective.”

"In the four states that have fully implemented e-tracking technology, nearly 40,000 g of illegal PSE sales per month are blocked,” said Carlos Gutiérrez, a state government relations consultant at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. “The system, which provides local law enforcement officials with precise data on who is attempting to buy illegal amounts of PSE, also helps law enforcement find meth labs.”

SB 325/HB 234 is supported by the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and CHPA. If passed into law, SB 325/HB 234 would make Tennessee the 13th state to pass legislation requiring a statewide e-tracking system to block illegal sales of medicines containing PSE. The NPLEx system would be fully integrated into Tennessee pharmacy systems by Jan. 1, 2012.