August 1, 2005
Consumers searching for certain over-the-counter decongestants may not find them on store shelves. A law passed by the Texas Legislature in June and effective today requires that solid forms of medicines containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine be displayed in locked cabinets or placed behind sales counters.
The law, House Bill 164, also limits the quantity of these products that can be sold to a customer in a single purchase. Retailers selling the products must have a temporary certificate of authority from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to sell the products and must keep a signed log of purchases.
Consumers must be 16 or older and show a photo identification to buy the products.
Examples of solid-form products to which the law applies include Tylenol Sinus, Sudafed, Claritin-D, Advil Sinus, Alka-Seltzer Cold, Coricidin Cough & Cold and Dristan Sinus.
Solid forms of products containing pseudoephedrine or ephedrine can be used to illegally make methamphetamine, or speed, a powerful stimulant. Solid forms include tablets, caplets and powders.
The restrictions do not apply to liquid or gel forms of the products but do apply to gel-coated tablets and caplets.
The law carries an administrative penalty of $1000 per violation per day, with a maximum of $20,000, for retailers who violate the law.
Each retail outlet is required to have its own certificate of authority.
The temporary certificates are valid till May 1, 2006. DSHS will be going through a rule making process to support compliance with the law and will issue permanent certificates to retailers after May 1.
More information for retailers is available online at:
(News media: for more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, Austin, 512-458-7524.)