I have really bad pollen allergies. I also have severe allergic reactions to cats. Getting married to a woman who had two cats and moving to Virginia (where my nose constantly runs because of the pollen) was a bad combination. So, I’ve been taking Claritin-D every day since 2007.
One of the main ingredients of Claritin-D is pseudoephedrine and because pseudoephedrine is the main component in the illicit production of methamphetamine, I have to produce identification when purchasing my Claritin-D. Now if you have allergies like I do, then you know the drill: go to Wal-Mart, stand in line at the pharmacy, take out your driver’s license, and let them scan it. Now there’s a record of what I bought and how much I bought. Presumably, if I tried to go to another Wal-Mart immediately, the computer will scan my ID and inform me that I just bought all the Claritin-D that I need for now at another store and Wal-Mart won’t allow me to purchase more drugs.
So, in order to protect me and others from what I might do with the pseudoephedrine, I am inconvenienced by having to wait in line at a pharmacy, produce my ID, and be placed under the watchful eye of Wal-Mart (or whichever pharmacy you prefer). I have to waste my time repeating this routine every two weeks, because they will only sell me 15 24-hour pills at a time! All this for an over the counter (OTC) drug that does not require a prescription.
On March 23, in a bold stroke of judicial activism, the US District Court for Eastern NY decided that the FDA must sell Plan B–emergency contraception (EC), also known as “the morning after pill”–to minors over the counter without a prescription. Plan B is in essence a high dose of the hormonal birth control pill. Supposedly, it will prevent conception after unprotected sex; but what doctors don’t usually tell you is that if fertilization has already taken place, Plan B may act as an abortifacient by thinning the uterine lining thus preventing the embryo from implanting in the uterus.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has compiled a list a studies performed in other countries that have allowed emergency contraception to be sold OTC. The first thing to understand is that in these nations, easy access to EC has not reduced the number of unintended pregnancies or abortions. Additionally, the USCCB has noted studies which show that easy access to contraception has been correlated to increased promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases.
Maybe it’s just me, but…if the regular dose of hormonal birth control still requires a prescription, regardless of the patient’s age, because of the possible health complications, why would a higher dosage of the same medication not require a prescription and doctor’s supervision? It just doesn’t make sense. And if in the name of public safety an OTC drug containing pseudoephdrine is regulated, why is it that Plan B, which may also be detrimental to public safety, is not regulated and can be freely obtained without a prescription?
Why, in our society’s rush to ensure, and dare I say promote, everyone’s sexual freedom, judicial activists in NY who have no medical background can decide that parents don’t have a right to monitor their minor daughter’s intake of medication that the doctors and scientists at the FDA have determined may be detrimental to a minor’s health? Why no safeguarding the health of the underage young girl in the case of Plan B, but that same young girl can’t even take an aspirin in school without parental consent and a nurse dispensing it?
So, there it is – restrict the rights of responsible adults from buying a non-prescription drug to treat their allergies, but let the vulnerable young girl buy the higher dosage of a prescription drug with no one looking out for her health and safety. Make sense to you? Because I just don’t get it.