It's tough enough to get a box of Sudafed, and Illinois retailers say there's no need to make it tougher.

The active ingredient in the popular cold medicine can be used to make methamphetamine, thus the rigamarole of showing your driver's license, signing a form, etc. While there's been a drive in past years to make Sudafed and its generic equivalents available by prescription only, the new argument is that Mexico is a bigger supply of meth than, say, a local chemistry teacher gone bad.

“We already have restrictions in place,” says Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, who adds the restrictions are working against labs. “You do not restrict the Mexican drug cartels by restricting people's access (to cold medicine) even more.”

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Karr is working with Alex Brill, described as an economic policy consultant, to spread the word that the current controls on medicine purchases are enough.

Brill says, “There are really two adverse consequences” to making Sudafed prescription-only. “A lot of people wouldn't take the product. The product works very well. The second thing is, in order to get a prescription, they'd have to make an appointment with the doctor, make the co-pay, and then come back to the pharmacy.”

Brill is a former chief economist for the U.S. House of Representatives.
(Copyright WBGZ / )