Viewpoint: Restrict DXM Sales OTC

Jun 03, 2004

By George Anderson

An editorial in the Christian Science Monitor calls for action to be taken by retailers, drug manufacturers and/or the government to restrict kids’ access to over-the-counter (OTC) remedies containing dextromethorphan (DXM).

Last week, the paper ran a story that brought to light a disturbing development where teens were purchasing cough and cold remedies containing DXM to get high.

Three states, California, New Jersey and New York have pending legislation that seeks to restrict the sale of products with DXM to minors.

Some parent groups have called on pharmacies to voluntarily keep products containing DXM such as Coricidin and Robitussin behind the counter for sale to adults only.

The full scope of the DXM abuse issue is not known, but it is being given serious attention.

The Consumer Health Care Products Association and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America are conducting a study to determine the extent of the abuse. The association has also paid for a brochure distributed by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America to alert parents to the dangers of DXM.

Moderator’s Comment: What should retailers do in response to the concerns raised about kids’ abuse of products containing
DXM? Does another classification need to be added to the current Rx or OTC designation to cover items such as those containing DXM (currently OTC)?

We can’t help wondering just how many other products can be abused for the purpose of getting high. It seems to us that space behind the counter may need
to grow substantially to accommodate items fitting this description. According to the Christian Science Monitor, there are more than 250 products currently available containing

George Anderson – Moderator

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