OTC Meds Under Fire in War on Drugs

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The cure for the common cold may be the next casualty in the war on drugs (search). The state government in Iowa is cracking down on the illegal drug methamphetamine (search) – and the fix is a little too strong for some drug companies.

"We've got the toughest bill in the nation," said Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack (search) about Iowa’s new law that puts restrictions on purchases of over-the-counter cold medicines.

Iowa will be the first state in the nation to take all pills, liquids and liquid-filled capsules containing pseudoephedrine (search) – the key ingredient in making the addictive drug often referred to as “meth” – off store shelves. Starting in early May, Iowans wanting such products will have to ask for them.

Hawkeye state lawmakers heard arguments from some drug companies before acting. Pfizer Inc. (PFE) got what it was looking for. Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) did not.

Procter & Gamble (search) representatives are lobbying to get an exemption for liquid and gel cap products. The company argues these products have not been traced to the scene of any crime lab crackdowns.

"Vicks cough-cold products have not been found in methamphetamine lab seizures," said Kurt Weingand, a spokesman for Procter & Gamble.

That does not necessarily mean those products could not be used to make the illegal substance. Iowa’s state crime lab did an experiment in which they successfully made meth from a number of liquid pseudophedrine medicines. One of those medicines used in production was Vicks NyQuil (search), which is made by Procter & Gamble.

Drug company Pfizer (search), on the other hand, is fine with restrictions on every pseudoephedrine product. In January, the mega-medicine maker introduced a new cold remedy in the U.S. that is pseudoephedrine-free, Sudafed PE (search).

Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Steve Brown.