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CVS Halts Sales of Certain Cold Medicines in West Virginia Stores

Nasdaq, July 7, 2014

CVS Caremark Corp. has halted sales of certain cold medicines in West Virginia as part of an effort to combat methamphetamine abuse across the state.

The company no longer will sell single-ingredient pseudoephedrine, often sold under the Sudafed brand name. The over-the-counter drug is one of the most popular sources for chemicals used in meth labs, which have proliferated in West Virginia in recent years.

In addition to stopping sales of the product in its 50 stores in West Virginia, CVS also will drop the product from 40 stores located within 15 miles of the state border, in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It is the first time the company has made such a move.

CVS will continue to sell in the 90 stores a formulation of the medicine that is resistant to the type of illicit tampering often used by meth labs.

"We took this step as part of our long-standing commitment to assuring that PSE products are purchased at our stores only for legitimate medical purposes," said Mike DeAngelis, a spokesman for CVS. The company also reduced the amount of pseudoephedrine products that can be purchased by an individual in a year to half of the limit currently allowed under West Virginia law.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat who has lobbied CVS and other pharmacy corporations to ban single-ingredient pseudoephedrine products, praised the move.

"Substance abuse has ravaged West Virginia, and the local production and abuse of methamphetamine has only added to the epidemic," he said. "It is past time that we take strong action to stop this cycle of abuse."