FRUTH Pharmacy and pharmaceutical companies may have the perfect prescription for reducing homemade crystal meth without requiring prescriptions for common, over-the-counter decongestants that contain pseudoephedrine.
If so, that is welcome relief for people with the sniffles or an allergy who have neither the time nor inclination to visit a doctor just to treat the common cold.
But in recent years, some have pushed for requiring prescriptions to buy over-the-counter remedies that contain pseudoephedrine because meth heads use pseudoephedrine to make meth.
The West Virginia Board of Pharmacy supports prescriptions for this type of decongestant.
However, the Legislature thus far has resisted punishing everyone to stop a few. Legislators instead tried alternatives to prescriptions for Sudafed and other pseudoephedrine-based decongestants.
First, lawmakers pushed the over-the-counter drug behind the counter, then they required an ID card and a log of purchases, and finally they approved using an electronic tracking system called NPLEx to instantly record purchases in an effort to block large purchases of decongestants by meth makers.
Nevertheless, law enforcement officials and others again plan to push for prescriptions this year. Only two states - Oregon and Mississippi - require prescriptions. Many states favor NPLEx to combat meth-making.
But there is one other alternative remaining. Acura Pharmaceuticals of Palentine, Ill., developed Nexafed, which uses pseudoephedrine in a form that is tamper-resistant. In September, the Point Pleasant-based Fruth chain of 25 drug stores stopped selling Sudafed and similar products in favor of Nexafed.
"Legitimate customers should be willing to try some of these tamper-resistant products. We've actually had a lot of customer requests," CEO Lynn Fruth told Metro News. "We've have had a lot of feedback from customers saying they appreciate being able to purchase something that works and yet doesn't create any risks."
This is a common sense, marketplace solution to the problem. Drug companies also are switching to phenylephrine in an effort to offer cold and allergy relief to the public without aiding meth makers.
Cold sufferers do not want to enable junkies to brew meth. At the same time, legislators should not want to require someone with a stuffy nose to see a doctor just to get relief.
Lawmakers and competing pharmacies should pay attention to what is happening at Fruth. This may be the best solution to the problem.