The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

July 9, 2014

No sale

CVS Pharmacy has stopped selling some cold medications that contain high amounts of pseudoephedrine, an ingredient used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine.

The decision applies only to sinus and cold medications that have pseudoephedrine as their only active ingredient, but other cold and allergy medicines will still be sold at the company’s West Virginia pharmacies.

Those compounds are harder to turn into meth by illegal home cooks.

The move by CVS follows similar announcements from Rite Aid and Fruth Pharmacy.

Walgreens has informed officials in the state that it also plans to follow the path of these competitors in West Virginia, and also ban the sale of some products containing pseudoephedrine.

The announcement by CVS, and the pledge by Walgreens, mark a successful bit of lobbying by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

The West Virginia Democrat has continued his push to convince pharmacies to self-regulate when it comes to reining in the availability of meth-making ingredients.

“CVS’s commitment to terminating local sales of single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products will undoubtedly help curb the growth of meth labs and meth abuse,” he told The Charleston Gazette.

Manchin’s focus on this issue has been made even more important by the failure of the West Virginia Legislature to pass a bill that would require a prescription to purchase most pseudoephedrine products now sold over-the-counter.

That measure died on the last night of the Legislature’s regular session earlier this year, a victim of the lobbying by some pharmacy and drug-making interests who profit on the multi-billion-dollar cold and sinus medicine market.

No matter.

The decision on how to keep meth-making material from drug addicts who manufacture methamphetamine in West Virginia is now being made by the big national chain pharmacies selling these products themselves.

The more we can keep these meth-making ingredients out of the hands of illicit meth cookers in West Virginia, the better.

Good job, Sen. Manchin. And good job, CVS.

How ironic is it that we find companies headquartered out-of-state moving to solve West Virginia problems that West Virginia lawmakers in the state Legislature are afraid to confront?

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