The FDA's Next Bright Idea

Helen Whalen Cohen
Posted: Sep 14, 2010 5:05 PM
Seriously? The FDA wants to regulate cough syrup?

An advisory panel met today to vote on whether to classify the active ingredient in over 125 cough syrups as a controlled substance. According to one reviewer, the ingredient dextromethorphan " sought after by those seeking to alter their mental state or to get 'high'." Their solution is to make the stuff available by prescription only.

Who here actually thinks this will change anything? Prescriptions don't prevent abuse. All that will be curbed is easy access to Dimetapp when your kid gets a winter cough. Instead of going to the grocery, you will have to go to the doctor, wait, pay for the visit and get a prescription filled. And, as usual, science in the public interest has an adverse effect on those who are less well off. Anyone who thinks that this won't increase the price of cough syrup must be kidding themselves.

Looking around my desk right now, I have several highlighters, some glue and some over the counter allergy meds. Should the FDA be concerned about this, too? No. Once again, it is a matter best handled by private actors.