In 2006, products containing ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine and pseudoephedrine were restricted on the market. The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 bans the sale of any over-the-counter cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine. If you want to purchase this drug, it's required that you speak with a pharmacist who then has to release it from behind the counter.
Pseudoephedrine sales to an individual are limited. You'll need to produce your photo ID in order to purchase it. Stores selling it have to then keep your personal information on record for at least two years.
Pseudoephedrine is an important medication. It helps individuals combat sinus congestion, hay fever and allergies, among other conditions. Unfortunately, the drug can also be used to make methamphetamine, an illegal drug. Methamphetamine is highly addictive and can lead to fatalities, so restricting pseudoephedrine is just one way the government aimed to reduce the creation of this drug.
Although this drug is behind the counter, you don't need a prescription to purchase it. However, the law does restrict how much you can buy. If you've purchased too much, your account may be flagged and you could find yourself answering to law enforcement. Interestingly, those who make multiple purchases of single-pack doses of pseudoephedrine could get away with their purchases, since these purchases do not need to be logged.
If you're caught with larger amounts of this drug than legally allowed, you could face allegations of intending to make methamphetamine for distribution. Don't let your possession of a legal drug get you in trouble; a strong defensive action can help you.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "Legal Requirements for the Sale and Purchase of Drug Products Containing Pseudoephedrine, Ephedrine, and Phenylpropanolamine," accessed Jan. 19, 2018