Supplier News Breaks
Meth-resistant cold remedy Zephrex-D rolls out nationally
September 6th, 2013
ST. LOUIS – Westport Pharmaceuticals has rolled out Zephrex-D cold medicine — a tamper-resistant pseudoephedrine-based nasal decongestant designed to thwart meth makers — to pharmacy retailers nationwide.
Zephrex-D employs technology that provides 100% pseudoephedrine relief while deterring misuse of the medication.
The company launched Zephrex-D in late 2012 at retail stores and pharmacies in the St. Louis area and throughout Missouri.
On Thursday, Westport said that more than 15,000 pharmacies, including major national retail drug chains, have now begun stocking Zephrex-D for the impending cough, cold and flu season. Plans call for the product to hit shelves at more stores in the coming weeks.
"We have already launched a comprehensive pharmacist education program and will be mounting an ambitious consumer campaign in the fourth quarter," stated Paul Hemings, vice president and general manager at Westport Pharmaceuticals.
Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient of methamphetamine, the illegal manufacture of which has surged in the United States and fueled a drug abuse epidemic. Zephrex-D features meth-resistant properties from Tarex, a patented technology that delivers pharmaceuticals in a locking formulation that provides 100% pseudoephedrine relief while deterring misuse of the medication.
"Zephrex-D provides the unsurpassed congestion relief consumers expect from pseudoephedrine. It also provides peace of mind. Anyone who chooses Zephrex-D will be doing the right thing in helping keep their streets and communities safe for their families and kids," Hemings commented. "We have a great product for legitimate sinus and cold sufferers, but meth-making criminals will have to look elsewhere."
A pilot of Zephrex-D began last December and involved more than 300 stores, including major pharmacy and retail chains. Westport said that during the eight months of test marketing in Missouri — the nation's top meth lab seizure state — Zephrex-D wasn't found in any seizures, according to the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association.
"This product has been out since December, and we haven't found it used at a single meth lab site in Missouri," stated Jason Grellner, unit commander of the Franklin County, Mo., Narcotics Enforcement Unit. In Missouri, the number of clandestine and mobile meth lab seizures increased by more than 50% over the past four years.
The Missouri Narcotics Officers Association previously evaluated Zephrex-D using the "one pot shake and bake" process, in which meth is created quickly in a two-liter bottle, and the test showed that meth can't be made with the product using that process, Westport reported. Citing a 2013 Government Accountability Office report, the company said 87% of all meth labs use the "one pot shake and bake" process.
Westport added that independent testing of Zephrex-D has found that the traditional two-step extraction/conversion process converted less than 0.5% of the medicine's pseudoephedrine into meth.
Meth abuse costs U.S. taxpayers approximately $23.4 billion annually, according to Westport. These costs include law enforcement, uninsured burn victims, incarceration and rehabilitation of addicts, foster care for dependents, toxic waste cleanup and secondary meth crimes.
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