New anti-meth pseudoephedrine product hits stores

ST. LOUIS - Several pharmacies in the St. Louis area are now selling the first-ever pseudoephedrine-based decongestant that apparently 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 federal Drug Enforcement Administration has been reviewing the 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.

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.

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