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CVS stops some pseudoephedrine sales in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- CVS Pharmacy is no longer selling some cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine at its stores in West Virginia.

The sales ban applies to medications that have pseudoephedrine as their only active ingredient. Pseudoephedrine also is used to illegally manufacture methamphetamine.

CVS, which has 50 stores in West Virginia, also has also stopped selling the medications at 40 stores in neighboring states that are within 15 miles of the West Virginia border, CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis told the Charleston Gazette.

The ban does not include Zephrex-D, a tamper-resistant cold medication that contains pseudoephedrine as its only ingredient. CVS also continues to sell cold medications that combine pseudoephedrine and other ingredients, including antihistamines and pain relievers.

"By replacing the single-ingredient products that are preferred in the making of meth with a tamper-resistant version in these (90) stores, our customers continue to have access to a single-ingredient pseudoephedrine product for legitimate purposes," DeAngelis said.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., had pressed CVS executives to make the change.

"CVS's commitment to terminating local sales of single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products will undoubtedly help curb the growth of meth labs and meth abuse," Manchin told the newspaper.

Ride Aid and Fruth Pharmacy stopped selling single-ingredient pseudoephedrine medications in West Virginia last year.

Walgreens notified Manchin's office last week that it plans to stop such sales in the state, the newspaper said. Walgreens has 17 stores in West Virginia.

Police have seized 207 meth labs across the state this year. Law enforcement agencies seized a record 530 meth labs in 2013.

A bill that would have required a prescription to buy pseudoephedrine died on the final night of this year's regular session after time ran out on an agreement between the House and the Senate.

"Certainly, I have to applaud CVS for doing something, but there is more left to be done," said Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne, who supported the legislation.

"They're slowing down the bleeding, but they haven't stopped it. I'm hopeful over time that the retail outlets will all come to recognize that the best way to end the meth lab problem is to make sure only those people who have a prescription for the drug get it."