As previously reported by Patch, Zephrex D was expected to be available in St. Louis area pharmacies in November.
Zephrex-D is manufactured by Maryland Heights-based Highland Pharmaceuticals. Westport Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Highland.
Paul Hemings, with Westport Pharmaceuticals, tells Patch that in addition to Walgreens, Zephrex-D will be in two more major pharmacies in the St. Louis areas in the next week or two.
Hemings is holding off on making the two additional pharmacies public citing privacy agreements with the companies.
Overall, Zephrex-D is only being sold in the St. Louis market, including St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties.
"It's a small launch in a test market," Hemings tells Patch. "It's a big deal for us. It's a big deal for St. Louis."
And it could be a big deal in the fight against meth labs, according to St. Louis area drug agent Jason Grellner.
As previously reported by Patch, Zephrex-D is being touted as a decongestant that cannot be converted into methamphetamine, but also provides users the same relief as other pseudoephedrine products.
The drug has undergone rigorous testing, according to both Hemings and Grellner.
Since it cannot be converted into meth, it is also being sold without a prescription in some counties that have recently passed ordinances requiring a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine products such as Claritin-D and Allegra-D.
As it stands today, Zephrex-D is behind the pharmacy counter because of how all pseudoephedrine products are regulated. Customers must also show an ID to purchase such products and there is a limit to how much can be purchased at a time.
Some Missouri cities and counties also require a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine drugs.
However, Hemings said Westport Pharmaceuticals has applied for exemptions to those rules in Franklin and St. Charles counties, where county-wide prescription ordinances are in place, and they have been granted the exemptions. Therefore, shoppers do not need prescriptions for Zephrex-D in those two counties.
St. Louis County does not have a prescription requirement, however, many cities have passed such requirements and consumers will need prescriptions to purchase Zephrex-D, just like all other pseudoephedrine products, at this time.
Westport has not applied for exemptions to individual cities within St. Louis County yet that have the prescription requirements, but the company plans to address cities now that Zephrex-D is in pharmacies.
Hemmings and St Louis area drug agents had hoped St. Louis County would pass a county-wide prescription requirement. It has not.
Hemings is not sure how long it will take for future exemption requests to be granted by individual cities.