Wal-Mart has joined with other major discount retailers in removing certain non-prescription cold medicines from shelves and requiring them to be dispensed by pharmacists.
By moving over-the-counter cold and allergy medications that contain pseudoephedrine behind pharmacy counters, Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is helping to clamp down on the makers of the illegal stimulant methamphetamine. Moving it makes it more difficult for makers of the illegal drug to obtain a key ingredient.
"Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are one of the main ingredients used to cook crystal meth," said Maj. Steve Spears, commander of the East Mississippi Drug Task Force. "It's a very addictive drug. It's becoming widespread across the nation; it's a problem in every area. It's a big problem in rural areas."
Now consumers will have to go to the pharmacist and ask for that cold medicine. Some stores may require a photo ID.
Spears says moving those products behind the pharmacy counter will also make them less likely to be stolen. He says he expects the new policy to have a huge impact on the fight against drugs.
"I think it's going to help us out in the long run," said Spears. "It's going to help us out."