Legislation Seeks to Restrict Sale of Popular Cough Suppressant

Posted 03 February 2014 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

New legislation unveiled last week in the US House of Representatives would place new nationwide restrictions on over-the-counter sales of cough medications containing dextromethorphan (DXM), banning its purchase by anyone under the age of 18.

The Preventing Abuse of Cough Medicine Treatment (PACT) Actis meant to address abuse of the medication by those who use it to get "high" while preserving access for those who use the drug for legitimate purposes, said Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), the bill's sponsor.

"Millions of Americans use these cold medicines responsibly to gain relief from coughs and colds. However, these medicines are available at every supermarket, drugstore and convenience store in the country, giving teenagers unlimited access to purchase and abuse them," Braley said in a statement.

Those under the age of 18 would still be able to purchase the drug if they had a valid prescription from a doctor. In addition, the law would also restrict sale of the drug's active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) to entities registered with FDA or "comparable state agencies."

Those who break the law would be subject to fines, ranging from up to $5,000 for selling a DXM drug to someone under the age of 18, to $100,000 for selling bulk DXM API to an unauthorized entity.

The law is nearly identical to a law by the same name introduced in July 2012 by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and covered by Regulatory Focusat the time.


Preventing Abuse of Cough Medicine Treatment (PACT) Act

Braley Statement

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