Ephedrine Products Become OTC in Nebraska 33692

May 1, 2001

2 Min Read
Ephedrine Products Become OTC in Nebraska

Ephedrine Products Become OTC in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb.--Manufacturers and distributors can now legallysell ephedrine products in Nebraska. On April 17, Mike Johanns, the governor ofNebraska, approved a bill that lifted the state ban on the sale of ephedrine,pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine (PPA) products. In 1996, Nebraska passeda law that made ephedrine-based products prescription-only rather thanover-the-counter (OTC). However, this was not due to the potential healthproblems that have been linked to ephedrine and PPA in various medical journals;rather, it was to keep Nebraskans from making methamphetamine.

Phil Weitl, deputy press secretary for the governors office, stated thatthis law basically lifted the ban on ephedrine products while establishing stateregulatory practices. And yes, it does lift the hard and fast ban onephedrine, he said. Ma huang and ephedra products were not specificallylisted in the bill, but may be subject to the interpretation of the lawwhen this law takes effect, Weitl stated.

Now that Bill 113 has been signed by the governor (and will more likely thannot be approved by the state legislature), products containing ephedrine willhave certain guidelines to follow in order to not be viewed as a controlledsubstance. These guidelines will pertain to labeling, marketing, dosage andquality assurance of ephedrine products. Bill 113 states that labels shouldcarry the total milligrams of ephedrine per product, with a dose limitation setat 25 mg or less; the recommended maximum dosage, which is set at 100 mg for anadult within a 24-hour period; and the adverse events associated with takingephedrine products. It also states that it is a crime to knowingly distributethe product as a precursor to methamphetamine.

As part of the new law, all manufacturers or wholesale distributors ofproducts containing ephedrine must register with the Department of Health andpay a yearly fee of $1,000. Those who do not register are subject to a $5,000fine and seizure of all products.

In order to regulate these guidelines, the yearly fees will be used to payfor the Ephedra Registration Fund, which is anticipated to bring in $50,000 peryear. Monies raised from grants, contracts and donations will create theMethamphetamine Awareness and Education Fund, which will be used by the NebraskaCommission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice to educate the public andretailers on methamphetamine. The ban didnt seem to be working, and it isa much better idea to allow it in certain circumstances but to regulate it,Weitl explained. As long as [the legislature] can prohibit the people fromhaving it and using it in a way that is detrimental and harmful, thats thekind of thing we want to ban.

As for products containing PPA or pseudoephedrine, they are allowed to besold without a prescription if 1) they are labeled and marketed to OTC FinalMonograph standards; 2) manufactured and distributed for legitimate medicinaluse; and 3) packaged in blister packs or, if a liquid, sold in quantities ofless than three grams.

For more, visit the state legislature page for Nebraska at www.unicam.state.ne.us and conduct a keyword search.

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