Pubdate: Sat, 06 Aug 2005
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2005 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Lindsay Nash


ASHEVILLE - Walgreen Co., the nation's largest drugstore chain,
announced Friday it will move all products containing pseudoephedrine
- - used to make methamphetamine - behind the pharmacy counter in all
stores nationwide by the end of October, according to a Reuters report.

Asheville has one Walgreens drugstore, on Hendersonville Road.
Discoveries of highly toxic meth-making labs have soared in recent
years. Law enforcement officers in North Carolina swooped in on 243
labs last year, up from nine in 1999. Most were in the western, rural
parts of the state. House and Senate members plan to meet next week to
find an agreement on competing versions of a bill restricting the sale
of cold medicines with ingredients used to make meth, said Sen. John
Snow, D-Cherokee, who will sit on the Senate committee.

The Senate voted unanimously against accepting the House version,
prompting the creation of a conference committee to work out
differences. The Senate bill would have limited cold tablets
containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to sales from behind a
pharmacy counter.

The House version still would allow stores without pharmacies to sell
the medicine, but they must remain behind a counter and be sold at a
single designated register.

Walgreen Co. joins Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Kmart Holding Corp., CVS
Corp. and Rite Aid Corp. in moving medications with pseudoephedrine
behind pharmacy counters. Target Corp. and Albertson's Inc. had
already made such a move. "If we don't control it like a narcotic
drug, we're just turning people loose on it," Snow said.
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