ST. LOUIS (December 5, 2012)--Several pharmacies in the St. Louis area are now selling the first pseudoephedrine-based decongestant that evidently cannot be used to make methamphetamine.
Highland Pharmaceuticals in suburban St. Louis is the maker of Zephrex-D, which has been rolled out over the past week or so. Company spokeswoman Emilie Dolan says the company hopes to sell the product nationally within a year.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is reviewing the new drug, but the status of its testing wasn't immediately clear.
Pseudoephedrine found in cold and allergy pills is a precursor for most meth recipes.
Federal law requires stores to keep pseudoephedrine-based products behind the counter, and two states, Mississippi and Oregon, require a prescription for them.
Missouri has been especially hard hit by the meth epidemic, but there is no statewide prescription law.
More than 70 cities and counties have adopted their own prescription ordinances.