In this radio discussion, Lars Larson and I discuss the efficacy of over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, specifically those containing phenylephrine. The radio host expresses his concern as someone who relies on his voice for his profession, and who occasionally uses these medications to alleviate congestion.
Cato Institute's Dr. Jeffrey Singer, in an opinion piece in USA Today, writes that for years we've been buying and using an ineffective, potentially dangerous decongestant. Why? Just another futile attempt to restrict access to illegal drugs, in this case, methamphetamine. With phenylephrine off pharmacy shelves, the ACSH advisor explores what this means.
An FDA panel voted unanimously to withdraw the decongestant phenylephrine (PE) because it shows no benefit, something Sudafed PE users probably learned years ago. But the real story is why phenylephrine was on pharmacy shelves at all. It's all about the DEA and stupid drug policies, a story we've heard many times before.