In order to address methamphetamine abuse in certain parts of the country, legislators in several states frequently attempt to pass laws that would require a doctor’s prescription for popular, nonprescription medicines containing the decongestant pseudoephedrine (PSE). Millions of American consumers rely on these products for effective relief that doesn’t require a costly trip to the doctor’s office. Some policymakers argue that restricting the sale of these medicines will solve their state’s meth problem, despite the fact that 80 percent of America’s meth comes from Mexico and that such a policy would lead to higher healthcare costs and other burdens for law-abiding citizens.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), hired FP1 Strategies to help push back on PSE prescription legislation. FP1 provides comprehensive strategic services to CHPA in the form of public relations, advertising, grassroots and grasstops advocacy, online engagement, rapid response and crisis communications. Additionally, FP1 manages ten public relations and lobbying teams in key target states – each with a unique set of issues – on behalf of CHPA.
Working with CHPA, FP1 has developed a dynamic and consumer-driven grassroots campaign in key states across the country. Within each state, FP1 has given voice to hundreds of third-party groups, concerned parents, healthcare professionals, businesses and allergy sufferers who have spoken out against prescription-only legislation through a variety of mediums. These unique voices testify at critical hearings, submit op-ed pieces, participate in town hall meetings, contact elected officials, take part in media interviews and activate social media networks. The success of the campaign, therefore, is principally based on a robust network of individual state coalitions.
Thanks to this comprehensive approach, in three years, not a single state has passed a prescription-requirement bill, while dozens of unfavorable bills were defeated and many favorable ones passed.
“Pharmaceutical lobbyists won the public-relations battle, convincing many that the prescription-only requirement would not work…” (Brandon Merritt, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, 3/14/14)
“Legislators say they have been bombarded with email messages and phone calls on the subject from constituents, many of them apparently motivated by statewide radio ads and phone banks sponsored by the Consumer Health Products Association.” (Tom Humphrey, House Panel OKs Less Restrictive Pseudoephedrine Bill, Knoxville News Sentinel, 3/26/14)
State Representative William Lamberth: “I’ve gotten more e-mails and phone [calls] telling me not to vote for this bill than any other bill this session.” (William Lamberth, Tennessee House Floor Debate, 3/18/14)