Kanawha Chief Deputy Mike Rutherford said the county could see a record number of meth lab busts this year. And as far as he knows, not a single bust has come as a result of NPLEx information.
"I have serious doubts it's doing anything. If it is, it's not showing up in the street. What we see out here is meth lab after meth lab," he said.
Rutherford said meth makers are circumventing NPLEx by hiring others to purchase pseudoephedrine in their stead. The practice is known as "smurfing."
"These people aren't dumb. They'll do everything they can to get their product," he said.
He said law enforcement originally was told NPLEx would help prevent meth labs.
"That didn't work quite that way. Then they said 'Well okay, we'll track them down easier," he said. "We're not interested in finding more. We're interested in preventing them."
In a letter to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey last month, Delegate Don Perdue, chairman of the House Health Committee, said NPLEx "has made no apparent impact and there are some in Congress feel it may actually have resulted in sales increases."
Perdue asked Morrisey to investigate pseudoephedrine sales in West Virginia, and take legal action against companies that manufacture or sell the drugs.
Speaking to the Daily Mail on Tuesday, Perdue said if Morrisey is not able to act, he wants the Legislature to pass a law making pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug.
Lambert said the Retailers Association would not support a prescription-only bill. She said making pseudoephedrine a controlled substance would limit police officers' access to sales information, since that information would then be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
"We have never supported that. We feel that it would be counter productive with the prescription drug problem in West Virginia," she said.
Lambert said police haven't given the tracking system enough time to work, saying it may be 18 to 24 months before the full effects of the system can be measured.