The state's six-month-old pseudoephedrine tracking system is working great, with thousands of illegal purchases prevented right at the cash register, according to the West Virginia Retailers Association.
But law enforcement officials, the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy, and House of Delegates Health Chairman Don Perdue are not so enthusiastic about the program's results.
West Virginia adopted the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx, through a bill passed in the 2012 legislative session, although it only went online in January. The system is a real-time tracking system for pseudoephedrine sales, used by 28 states nationwide.
"The minute you purchase pseudoephedrine and they hit the button to register that sale, it's entered into the NPLEx," said Bridget Lambert, Retailers Association president.
Pseudoephedrine purchases are limited to 3.6 grams per day in Wets Virginia, 7.2 grams per month and 48 grams per year.
According to data from NPLEx, the system stopped the illegal purchase of 9,965 boxes of pseudoephedrine between Jan. 1 and June 30.
"I think 9,900 boxes for six months shows that it's working," Lambert said. "NPLEx has the ability to be a very effective tool for law enforcement if they use it correctly."
Law enforcement officials aren't so sure.
Mike Goff, administrator of the Board of Pharmacy's controlled substance monitoring program, said the system stopped sales of 9,965 pseudoephedrine boxes in the first six months of this year.
But that's only about 3 percent of the state's total sales. Between January and June, 236,033 boxes of pseudoephedrine were sold in West Virginia.
Goff, a former state trooper, said NPLEx is an effective way to monitor pseudoephedrine sales but provides little help in preventing those sales from happening in the first place.
"We want to stop sales. We don't want to track sales. Once they've got their pseudoephedrine, it's too late," he said.