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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Oregon Drug Laws: Brought to You By Your Good Friends at Pfizer

I'm being nice today:
TO: Jeff Mapes, The Oregonian

Dear Mr. Mapes,

I read your article today on Oregon's move to be the first state in the country to ban all forms of cold tablets that could be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. I found it curious that there was no mention of the fact that the drug companies, led by Pfizer, fought any sort of limitation on the sale of these drugs for years, and Oregon was extremely compliant. When the tragic death of a police officer in Oklahoma finally led them to pass a bill requiring such drugs be kept behind store counters, and there was a subsequent dramatic reduction in meth-lab seizures, states such as Oregon fell in line.

Pfizer then saw the writing on the wall, and decided it could regain its shelf space if it used a form of pseudoephedrine it could have been using all along that could not be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. In fact, they got the jump on the competition with a factory that is already underway in Germany. Now they are running around the country aggressively pushing for a complete ban on all their competitors' drugs, and once again, it looks like Oregon is being compliant. I find it hard to believe Pfizer has had a sudden burst of altruism.

How do I know all this? I was told by members of the Oregon Drug Task Force in a recent Newport town meeting on the meth epidemic, with State Rep. Alan Brown and Senator Joanne Verger in attendance. I wrote about it on my blog.

I think this is an important part of the story that should be covered. Is this current action being taken because it will have any effect on the meth problem, or simply to clear the competition away for Pfizer?

Jane Hamsher
In case anyone cares, most of the meth in the state comes from large out-of-state meth labs. When I went to the Newport town hall meeting on meth, nobody on the task force gave any indication that taking a step like this would aid them in any way -- the only thing that they mentioned was Pfizer wanting to take out the competition. If any dumbshit like me can wander into a Drug Task Force dog & pony show and figure this out, what's up with the lazy journalism? (Okay maybe not so nice.)