New law requires pharmacies to track customers who buy pseudoephedrine
FITCHBURG, Wis. — Pharmacists across Wisconsin are already required to keep track of who buys cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine and how much they are buying each month, but those records aren’t shared with other pharmacies.
Under a new law signed by Governor Scott Walker on Friday, pharmacists are required to enter the customers’ information into the National Precursor Log Exchange, an electronic database.
“Some pharmacies use a written method, so they write it out in a book form. Some scan IDs, which logs the information electronically in their record. But there’s no mandate, until now, for pharmacies to send that data in to a collective of it,” Thad Schumacher, owner of Fitchburg Family Pharmacy, said.
Pseudoephedrine sales will be tracked in real time to make sure customers aren’t buying too much. The database will alert pharmacists if they shouldn’t sell to a customer.
The stimulant included in Sudafed is one of the key ingredients in making methamphetamine. Police narcotics units and addiction advocates hope the new law will keep the ingredients out of the hands of producers.
The Dane County Narcotics Taskforce has used the national tracking system in past investigations, and officials said it has proven beneficial.
Pharmacies in all but ten states use the system, including big pharmacies like Target and Walgreens.
“So we’re kind of behind the curb, but we’re going to catch up real quick. We’re working with Iowa, who uses this system, to try to train pharmacists on how to do it,” Schumacher said.
There have been restrictions on pseudoephedrines for several years. Wisconsin’s laws are tougher than federal laws.
The online system is free for pharmacies to use. If the system in down, the law allows pharmacists to use their clinical judgement on whether or not to sell to a customer.
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