Fruth Pharmacy seeing results in war on meth

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Four months after Fruth Pharmacy switched to a tamper-resistant pseudoephedrine product, they’re seeing positive results.

The company stopped selling Sudafed and replaced it with Nexafed back in September. Nexafed has the same ingredients. The only difference is the makers, of Nexafed, have created a pill that disrupts the extraction and conversion, of Sudafed, into methamphetamines.

Lynn Fruth, the CEO and president of the Fruth Pharmacy chain, said looking at their books, Nexafed has been a popular replacement for law abiding citizens.

“We feel pretty good about the fact that we’ve sold nearly a thousand boxes of [Nexafed] since we’ve really promoted it!”

Another change Fruth has made is the sale of products like Allegra and Claritin that contain smaller amounts of pseudoephedrine.

“We have moved all of those products behind the pharmacy counter and the view, of the customer,” explained Fruth.

In order to buy those meds, at Fruth, you must have a consultation with a pharmacist who said they usually can tell who is buying the product for legitimate reasons and who wants to use it for criminal purposes. Fruth pharmacists can decline to sell the drug to a customer, if they feel it’s going to be used improperly.

Fruth said they decided to take a hard stand but she still believes it was the right thing to do.

“Legitimate customers should be willing to try some of these tamper-resistant products. We’ve actually had a lot of customer requests,” according to Fruth. “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.”

In fact, Fruth said she’s been moved by the many parents and grandparents, of meth addicts, who stop and thank her for the company’s tough stance.

Since Fruth made the change, other companies have followed.

“I think we’re starting to get some traction, in terms of other drug stores and retailers saying, ‘We want to come along side and do the right thing as well’ and really trying to limit these products getting out there,” according to Fruth.

Currently, state law requires all products with pseudoephedrine be kept behind the pharmacy counter. As the state Legislature heads into session next week, one bill expected to land on the agenda calls for medications, with pseudoephedrine, to become prescription-only to keep better track of who’s buying it.

Fruth said she has no problem with that change in the law.

“But I really would like for the Legislature to consider allowing the tamper-resistant products to still be sold and tracked [without a prescription] so that legitimate patients can still access those without the expense of going to a physician and having a higher cost for the medication.”

Fruth said the company may lose money in the long run because of their beliefs but it’s worth it to stop the production of a deadly, illegal drug.

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