ST. LOUIS — The Drug Enforcement Administration says a suburban St. Louis pharmaceutical company is wrong for marketing its pseudoephedrine product to imply methamphetamine cannot be made with it.
Westport Pharmaceuticals, however, is standing by its meth-resistant claims, insisting that it would be impractical to make the dangerous drug with its Zephrex-D even if small amounts of meth can be extracted from it.
James Shroba, the DEA’s acting special agent in charge of the St. Louis office, sent Westport Pharmaceuticals a letter dated May 6 that called the Maryland Heights, Mo., company out on its marketing of the cold and allergy medication. Shroba said claims that Zephrex-D is meth-resistant are wrong since DEA chemists were, in fact, able to make meth from it.
Westport Pharmaceuticals began selling Zephrex-D last year, claiming it was the first to come up with a form of pseudoephedrine that couldn’t be used in meth production.
Shroba wrote that the meth-resistant claims in Westport’s corporate literature and on the Zephrex-D website “are inconsistent with the results of extraction tests” conducted by DEA’s Office of Forensic Sciences. His letter stopped short of demanding that the company discontinue the marketing claims, though Shroba said he planned to make the DEA findings known to police in Missouri.
The DEA did not return messages from The Associated Press seeking an interview.
Westport Pharmaceuticals spokeswoman Emilie Dolan said Tuesday that company officials were “surprised by the position that the local DEA takes in that letter.” Dolan said only very small amounts of meth can be extracted from Zephrex-D — so little that a single dose would cost $250 to $500, or 10 to 20 times the street value. She said that makes it impractical to believe meth-makers could successfully use Zephrex-D. —AP