The Cape Girardeau City Council decided Monday that the side effects of keeping cold medications containing pseudoephedrine available behind the counter and without a prescription are too much of a risk for the community.
The council voted 4-3 in favor of an ordinance requiring a prescription to buy pseudoephedrine, a component in methamphetamine manufacturing.
The split vote came a week after Gov. Jay Nixon visited the Cape Girardeau Police Department announcing he supports statewide legislation mandating a prescription to purchase Sudafed, Claritin-D and other pseudoephedrine products.
Council members engaged in little discussion before voting on the ordinance, but several Southeast Missouri law enforcement officers and an area allergy doctor encouraged them to regulate the sale of the drug.
Jason Morgan, an officer with the Poplar Bluff, Mo., Police Department spoke to the council about his city's leaders and their action in December 2009 to make pseudoephedrine available only with a prescription. He said the department has documented a 50 percent reduction in methamphetamine lab seizures.
"And we've had two complaints total from people in the last year. There hasn't been any major issues at all," Morgan said. "From a law enforcement standpoint, it's really done a lot for us."
Morgan also told the council he has viewed pseudoephedrine purchase activity on the statewide tracking database for pharmacies connected to the system in Cape Girardeau. He said he noticed more than 100 purchases from Poplar Bluff residents and of the names listed, at least 85 percent of the names were familiar to Morgan as meth users or meth manufacturers.
Jason Grellner, Missouri Narcotics Officers Association vice president, also addressed council members, giving them statistics about sales as indexed in the pseudoephedrine tracking system. For November, and of the 74 counties connected to the database, Cape Girardeau County ranks No. 1 for boxes sold per capita, he said.
When recommending the council approve the ordinance, though, Grellner asked the members to think of the community and who meth labs affect the most -- children. As an investigator for the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, Grellner said, he's seen too many children taken from a home where officers have seized a meth lab.
"The children need your protection," he said.
Kim Price, local legal counsel for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, spoke to the council in opposition of the ordinance, saying the regulation is a burden to legitimate purchasers of pseudoephedrine.
"Consider the alternative in place now in Missouri. ... The pseudoephedrine tracking system has not been fully implemented yet," Price said.
Shortly after the vote, CHPA's chief executive officer Scott Melville issued a statement in response to the council action.
"Citizens of Cape Girardeau and the state of Missouri deserve to have their elected officials give electronic tracking a chance to work. Missouri has already blocked over 18,000 grams of pseudoephedrine in just a few short months, and that's with only half of the state's pharmacies connected to the system," Melville wrote in an e-mail. "We hope the council will reconsider this decision at some point in the future and allow consumers to have continued immediate access to effective treatments for common ailments."
Council member Meg Davis Proffer voted against requiring prescriptions, despite the fact that her husband is a sheriff's deputy.
"I had to put that aside," she said after the meeting. "This is a legal product that has been approved by the FDA. I hate punishing people who are law-abiding citizens, but that's what this does. There's a line and when you start moving the line, what's next?"
401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, MO
* Held a public hearing regarding the request of Fruitland Livestock Market to zone property south of LaSalle Avenue on both sides of Baldwin Drive to the R-3, high-density family residential district and to the C-2, highway commercial district.
* Held a hearing to consider an amendment to the zoning ordinance to limit the number of domestic servants in residential areas.
* Approved an ordinance annexing land to the city, on the request of Fruitland Livestock Market Inc. Second and third reading.
* Approved an ordinance amending the boundaries of Ward 4 to include properties annexed by the city. Second and third reading.
* Approved an ordinance accepting a sanitary sewer easement on the Clippard School property from Dr. James Welker, superintendent of the Cape Girardeau School District. Second and third reading.
* Approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to execute a quitclaim deed to the state of Missouri releasing interest in an easement on Missouri Veterans Home property. Second and third reading.
* Approved an ordinance accepting a quitclaim deed, temporary construction easements and a permanent slope easement from the state for Veterans Memorial Drive on Missouri Veterans Home property. Second and third reading.
* Approved an ordinance approving the record plat of Thorngate Subdivision. Second and third reading.
* Approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to execute an agreement with Preferred Resource Network Inc., d/b/a Personal Assistance Service, for an employee assistance program. Reading and passage.
* Approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to execute a website development and hosting agreement on behalf of the city with Element 74 LLC. Reading and passage.
* Approved a resolution authorizing the city manager to execute a release of lien for 915 Bloomfield St. for the Good Hope/Jefferson Neighborhood Restoration Project. Reading and passage.
* Approved a motion accepting the improvements completed under the Osage Community Centre Construction, Phase II Project and the new Family Aquatics Center, and authorizing final payment to Penzel Construction Co. Inc.
* Approved a motion approving the modification of the special use permit for a telecommunication tower at 204 N. Kingshighway and changing the ownership of the special use permit to include both Roberts Communication Properties LLC and American Tower Corp.
Items removed from the consent agenda
* Approved an ordinance repealing sections of Chapter 30, and repealing and enacting new sections of Chapter 25 of the code of ordinances, regarding billboards, signs, fences, retaining walls, landscaping and bufferyards. Second and third reading.
* Approved an ordinance amending Chapter 17 of the code of ordinances of the by adding a new Article XI titled "Regulation of Methamphetamine Precursor Drugs." Second and third reading.
* Approved an ordinance accepting fee simple interest and temporary construction easements from various property owners for the Lewis and Clark Parkway (Veterans Memorial Drive Phase 1) Project. First reading.
* Approved an ordinance approving the record plat of a resubdivision of Lot 25 of Lexington Place Second Subdivision. First reading.
* Approved an ordinance approving the record plat of a resubdivision of Lots P38, P39 and P40 of the Lochs at Dalhousie -- Phase IV and Lots P85, P86 and P87 of the Lochs at Dalhousie -- Corrected, amended. First reading.
* Approved an ordinance vacating the city's interest in utility easements in the area of 1533 Helmsdale Drive. First reading.
* Approved an ordinance amending Chapter 30 of the code of ordinances, by changing the zoning south of LaSalle Avenue and on both sides of Baldwin Drive in the city and county from R-1 and R-3 and C-2. First reading.
* Approved an ordinance amending chapter 30 of the code of ordinances regarding domestic servants. First reading.