Meds-for-meth bill drew record lobbying expenses, not even including radio and newspaper ad campaigns

Makers of over-the-counter drugs spent more than any lobbying interest ever had during a single Kentucky legislative session in their effort to defeat a bill requiring prescriptions for the key ingredient in methamphetamine, Bill Estep reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

“The Consumer Healthcare Products Association spent $457,053 on lobbying activities in the first three months of this year’s legislative session, according to reports filed with the state Legislative Ethics Commission,” Estep writes. “The group’s lobbying effort was so dominant that it spent more than the next five groups combined in that period, January through March, according to spending reports.”
And the figure doesn’t even included hundreds of thousands of dollars that the trade group spent on radio and newspaper campaigns, because the lobby-reporting requirements do not apply to messages aimed only at the general public. The group did report spending on “a phone-bank operation to put people in contact with legislators to voice concerns about legislation to require a prescription for medicine containing pseudoephedrine, which is now available over the counter,” Estep writes.

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The efforts, dating back to 2010, were partly successful. The legislature passed a bill “that will require a doctor’s prescription for pseudoephedrine, but only after someone has bought 24 grams of the medicine a year,” Estep notes. “A 48-count box of the generic medicine with 30-milligram pills contains 1.44 grams of pseudoephedrine. The bill excludes limits on gel caps and liquid pseudoephedrine.” (Read more)

The lobbying effort wasn’t only about Kentucky. The makers of Sudafed and other pseudoephedrine preparations are trying to stave off similar efforts in other states, and viewed Kentucky as a sort of firewall after seeing prescription-only laws pass in Oregon and Mississippi.

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