Report: Meth cooks credited with 80% increase in PSE sales

ST. LOUIS — There has been a sharp increase in sales of pseudoephedrine products just outside St. Charles County, Mo., which implemented a prescription requirement on the sale of PSE beginning Aug. 30, according to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published Monday that cited data from Det. Sgt. Jason Grellner, past president of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association.

According to that data, sales of PSE products were up 81% in September versus August in Bridgeton, Mo., and increases in Maryland Heights and Chesterfield were 59% and 51%, respectively.

During the same period, the Post-Dispatch reported, sales of PSE products in all of St. Louis County increased by about 25% and across Missouri by about 7%.

Nationwide, sales of all cough-cold and allergy products were up 1.9% for the 13 weeks ended Sept. 3, according to Nielsen data tabulated across food, drug and mass (including Walmart) stores.

In the report, Grellner suggested meth labs were the most likely driver behind those significant sales increases, despite the fact that St. Louis County residents were saddled with having to make doctors appointments in order to get their decongestant relief just as fall allergies and the 2011-2012 cough-cold season started kicking in.

Grellner charged that only 10% of PSE purchases are for legitimate use. However, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association maintains that assertions about a high rate of diversion are anecdotal. "Over 989,000 boxes of PSE products were sold in Missouri in 2008, equaling over $9.5 million in sales — not including Wal-Mart, which does not release sales data," according to the CHPA. "This is 1.8% of the U.S. PSE market, and Missouri’s population is 1.9% of the U.S. population."

Shortly after the St. Charles County PSE ordinance went into effect Aug. 30, the Southeast Missourian published a story on consumer dissatisfaction with the new prescription requirement, including one consumer who pledged to drive outside the county rather than be inconvenienced by a doctor's appointment.

To read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article in its entirety, click here.

To read the Southeast Missourian article, click here.

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