Feds investigating Rite Aid pseudoephedrine sales

January 10, 2014

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating pseudoephedrine sales at Rite Aid stores throughout West Virginia, according to a published report.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating pseudoephedrine sales at Rite Aid stores throughout West Virginia, according to a published report.

Pseudoephedrine is one of the main ingredients in products such as Sudafed, Allegra-D, and Claritin-D. It can be extracted and illegally used to make methamphetamine. Last year, police busted more than 500 meth labs in West Virginia.

According to a recent report in the Weirton Daily Times, DEA investigators have asked the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy to provide data on Rite Aid dating back to 2006.

"They asked for historical data. It was a lot of information," Mike Goff, a pharmacy board administrator who oversees the state's controlled-substance monitoring program, told the newspaper. "They apparently found some questionable Sudafed sales."

A Rite Aid spokesperson, Ashley Flower, told the newspaper that the company is aware of the probe and is cooperating.

Last year, following reports that the chain was one of the top pseudoephedrine sellers in the state, Rite Aid stopped selling cold medications that have pseudoephedrine as their only active ingredient. The chain still sells cold medicines that combine pseudoephedrine and other ingredients. It also now limits pseudoephedrine sales to one box per customer, per visit.

"Rite Aid takes the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine seriously," Flower said. "We are committed to taking appropriate action to help address the methamphetamine problem in West Virginia."

In 2013, Rite Aid stores in West Virginia sold 123,500 boxes of pseudoephedrine, which was the highest total in the state. Wal-Mart sold 104,000 boxes via 37 stores statewide. DEA officials refuse to comment about the agency’s request.