CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After prodding by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, CVS Pharmacy stores in West Virginia have stopped selling a popular cold medication that criminals use to make illegal methamphetamine.
CVS, with 50 stores across the state, no longer sells cold medicines that solely contain pseudoephedrine, a key meth-making ingredient.
Meth cooks demand those cold and allergy pills — mostly sold under the Sudafed brand name — because they yield potent meth without byproducts.
“CVS’s commitment to terminating local sales of single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products will undoubtedly help curb the growth of meth labs and meth abuse,” said Manchin, D-W.Va., who pressed CVS executives to make the inventory change over the past several months.
CVS’s single-ingredient pseudoephedrine sales ban also extends to another 40 stores within 15 miles of West Virginia’s border — stores in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, said Mike DeAngelis, a CVS spokesman.
“We took this step as part of our long-standing commitment to assuring that [pseudoephedrine] products are purchased at our stores for only legitimate medical purposes,” DeAngelis said.
Also, Walgreens notified Manchin’s office last week that the drugstore chain plans to stop carrying single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products in West Virginia. A Walgreens spokesman confirmed the change, and said the company was “still working out details.” Walgreens has 17 stores in the state.
Last year, West Virginia law enforcement agencies seized 530 meth labs, a record number. Police have busted 207 labs statewide so far this year…