All West Virginia pharmacies started reporting to the electronic system in January. NPLEx blocks pseudoephedrine sales when people try to exceed monthly and yearly limits set under state law.
Drug industry lobbyists initially said the tracking system would reduce meth labs. Now, those same lobbyists assert that NPLEx is an investigative tool that's helping authorities find the clandestine labs -- at homes, apartments, hotel rooms and storage units.
The "Stop Meth, Not Meds" website allows people to enter their addresses and zip codes, and provides a form letter that can be sent by email or fax. The list of recipients includes House and Senate leaders from both parties, as well as local legislators.
The letter starts, "I am writing you today to encourage you to oppose legislation that would force me to obtain a doctor's prescription before buying safe and effective medicines containing pseudoephedrine ... "
Senate President Jeff Kessler's office hadn't received any of the form letters as of Wednesday, according to Kessler spokeswoman Lynette Maselli. Tomblin's office received about 50 letters, while House Speaker Tim Miley was sent 79 form letters, spokeswomen for Tomblin and Miley said. Other state offices said they would look for the letters, but couldn't immediately confirm whether they received any emails or faxes from people through the "Stop Meth, Not Meds" lobbying campaign.
The website includes a commentary written by Republican operative Rob Cornelius, who opposes requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association is leading similar letter-writing campaigns in nine other states where lawmakers are considering prescription requirements. In 2011 and 2012, the group successfully lobbied against bills that would have made pseudoephedrine prescription-only in West Virginia
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.