Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed into law new restrictions regarding the sale of ipecac syrup, removing a drug that has been harmful to individuals with eating disorders from publicly-accessible pharmacy shelves.
"Time and time again, there have been reports that this drug has been misused by young people with eating disorders," Governor Cuomo said. "By putting ipecac behind the counter, we will ensure that this drug is less accessible to those to whom it could do the most harm. I thank Senator Gallivan and former Assemblyman Hoyt for their efforts to pass this legislation."
Often distributed to induce vomiting in poison cases, there has recently been an increase in ipecac abuse among individuals suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. Abuse of ipecac can lead to skin conditions, cardiac and skeletal muscle weakness, and electrolyte imbalance, with potentially fatal results. Under the new law, any retailer that sells ipecac will be required to either sell the drug from behind the counter or in a shelf location accessible only by store management. The new law will take effect immediately.
Senator Patrick Gallivan said, "Ipecac syrup, while marginally useful for instances of accidental poisoning, has a high rate of abuse and raises serious public health concerns, particularly for teens and young adults. I am proud to have sponsored this legislation, which will mandate simple safeguards to ensure ipecac is only sold safely and for its intended purposes, and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing it into law."
Former Assemblyman Sam Hoyt said, "I am pleased to see that the Governor has signed my bill into law that restricts the sale of ipecac syrup to behind the counter. A friend of mine, Debbie Begeny lost her daughter Heather to anorexia back in 2003 at the age of 22, following abuse of the ipecac syrup product and died of cardiac arrest. It was at that time I made a pledge to Debbie that I would fight to curb this abuse and to prevent any other individual from having such easy access to a product only to be used for poison control. Governor Cuomo's signature on this legislation has now made this pledge a reality."