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After nearly two months of debate, two tables and one passed reading, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen will meet in a special-called meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday night at Manchester City Hall to discuss the much-debated pseudoephedrine ordinance.
The meeting was called for by Mayor Lonnie Norman after over an hour of back-and-forth regarding the ordinance at last Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting where the ordinance was ultimately tabled for a second reading by a vote of 4-2.
“We have listened to both sides,” said Norman. “What I want to do is have the people there from the drug stores to talk and see what they think is best. If there is some kind of way we can work something out that’s fine. But we need to try to get something done. We will talk to them, go from there and see what happens.”
Norman said he has invited every drug store in Manchester.
“We called every drug store and I reckon each one of them will probably send a representative,” Norman explained. “I talked to Ray Marcrom a minute ago and he said he was going to try to come or send somebody.”
The issue at hand is an ordinance that would ban over-the-counter sales of pseudoephedrine-based medicines and instead force anyone wanting those medicines, such as Sudafed, to obtain an prescription for sale inside the Manchester City Limits. Proponents say the move would curb methamphetamine production in the area as pseudoephedrine is the key ingredient in meth. Currently state law calls for the medicine to be located behind the counter.
The main debate so far has focused around a few areas – whether or not the city has the legal authority to enact such a ban, whether it will actually slow meth production and whether or not pharmacists could write prescriptions for pseudoephedrine-based medicines without patients being forced to see a doctor and pay more out of pocket.
Currently, the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), Tennessee Municipal League (TML) and Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association (TMAA) have opined that municipalities would be wise to await an opinion from the state attorney general before moving forward with the ordinance. Local Pharmacists have also squashed the notion that patients could simply get prescriptions written at the pharmacy for decongestants.
“We are not prescribers,” said Dawn Hafer with Baker Brothers Drug Company. “[Patients] will have to go to a prescriber, which is a physician or a clinic … and that will take time away from the physician.”
The meeting is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall and is open to the public.