Target To Restrict Sales of Meth Ingredient Pseudoephedrine
Target, the nation's second-largest discount retailer, on Monday announced that all medications containing the decongestant pseudoephedrine would be sold solely through the stores' pharmacies because they can be used to manufacture methamphetamine, the AP/Chicago Sun-Times reports (Lohn, AP/Chicago Sun-Times). Medications containing PSE include NyQuil, Claritin-D, Sudafed and more than 100 other treatments for cold, sinus and allergy symptoms. Minnesota-based Target said stores without pharmacies will no longer sell products containing pseudoephedrine. More than 300 of Target's 1,330 stores do not have pharmacies, including about one-third of its 195 stores in California (Earnest/Lin, Los Angeles Times, 4/19).
The new policy is expected to take effect within two to three months (Serres/Defiebre, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 4/19). It remains unclear whether Target's decision would lead other retailers to take similar action, but Walgreen and Wal-Mart on Monday indicated that they had no plans to move sales of products containing PSE to store pharmacies (Los Angeles Times, 4/19).
Target spokesperson Carolyn Brookter said, "There's no question this will be an inconvenience to some people," adding, "But it wasn't a difficult decision to make, when you hear about the toll (methamphetamine) takes on communities" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 4/19).
Target spokesperson Lena Michaud said the company does "anticipate that this might impact the sales of products containing pseudoephedrine ... but we believe that, on balance, it's the right decision to make."
Mary Ann Wagner, vice president of pharmacy regulatory affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, said Target's decision was "huge" because PSE products account for 80% to 90% of all cough and cold medicines. "When you take that much product off a shelf and put it behind the (pharmacy) counter, you're talking about a very monumental change" (Los Angeles Times, 4/19).
Walgreen spokesperson Tiffani Bruce said, "Our law abiding customers should be able to browse, to see what products are offered on our shelves and to get in and out of stores very quickly."
Bruce said that stores that moved products containing PSE to store pharmacies likely would have to stop carrying some products because of space constraints and added that such a decision could contribute to increased wait times (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 4/19).