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      Cold medicine purchases could soon require a prescription

      State Representative Kit Spires from Lexington says he will be introducing a bill in the coming weeks that would require a prescription for any medicine containing pseudoephedrine -- the key ingredient in methamphetamine.

      LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WACH) -- People in South Carolina may soon have to get a prescription the next time they need medicine for a cold, or at least that's what some legislators are pushing for.

      State Representative Kit Spires from Lexington says he will be introducing a bill in the coming weeks that would require a prescription for any medicine containing pseudoephedrine -- the key ingredient in methamphetamine.

      "The meth problem is prevalent in South Carolina, as it is in other states," said Spires. "States such as Mississippi, which have placed pseudoephedrine on prescription have found a dramatic decrease in the prevalence of meth labs and the manufacture of meth in their states."

      While similar cold medicines containing phenylephrine will still be available over the counter, pharmacist Lewis Overbay says needing a doctor's permission for basic cold medicines could be a hassle.

      "If they get a cold and wake up in the morning -- now they have to go see their doctor, or at least go call their doctor to go get a prescription to come get it, which would be another expense for them to go for another doctor's visit to go see him for this, so it's going to be a bit of an issue," said Overbay. "It's kind of a hassle."

      But Spires disagrees. He's working on the bill with Rep. Eddie Tallon, and Sen. Mike Fair is proposing a similar bill in the Senate.

      As a pharmacist himself, spires says the bill will make things simpler than the currently statute, which tracks the frequency of a person's pseudoephedrine purchases.

      "It takes 20 minutes to actually fill a prescription, whereas when the prescription- you can fill a prescription in five minutes, and you don't have to do all the documentation that you have to do on the system," said Spires.

      But a new cold and sinus medicine expected to hit the midlands this summer could be a solution in itself. Zephrex-D is described as a tamper-resistant formula of pseudoephedrine providing the same decongestant relief but without the meth-making capabilities.