Reinhard didn't always like what he saw: people with "eyes rolling," tweaking on meth.
"After Walmart stopped selling, I got scared," he said. "I got people who were scaring me, even having grown up in Philadelphia. I'm being serious."
In West Virginia, pharmacies keep pseudoephedrine products behind the counter. Customers must show a photo ID to buy the medications.
Some customers, Reinhard suspected, had fake IDs. "I've sent a lot of people away because they didn't know their birth date," he said.
Other suspicious buyers would obtain multiple IDs -- a military ID, passport, driver's license and state-issued ID -- and use them to circumvent NPLEx and exceed monthly and yearly pseudoephedrine limits set by state law.
The NPLEx tracking system blocks sales to people who try to buy more pseudoephedrine than allowed, but the program only stopped a handful of sales when business was booming at Meds 2 Go.
"It was a challenge to figure out whether these people were telling you the truth," Michael said. "We'd do the NPLEx thing, and everything would check out. It's a very difficult position that we are put in as pharmacists, to judge people."
Sometimes, it was easy to spot people who were buying pseudoephedrine with plans to make it themselves or sell it to meth cooks, Reinhard said.
"We'd have three or four people come in the same car to buy the stuff," he said. "Everybody in that car had a head cold? Gee, that's a coincidence."
Other customers' intentions were harder to figure out.
"People like grandma come in and pay 15 bucks and sell it to their son or grandson," Reinhard said. "They'll give her 50 bucks for it. And that 50 bucks become 100 bucks after it's cooked."
Michael said his rural pharmacy, like all independent stores, struggles to make a profit. Pharmacy customers often prefer to shop at national chains, where they can buy prescription drugs and other merchandise at lower prices.
"At an independent pharmacy, it's very difficult to make a buck," Michael said. "I don't have a toaster out front, or a turkey or a color TV with a flat screen I can make money on."
Michael expects profit margins to dip even further once the Affordable Health Care Act kicks in next year.
"With Obamacare coming, it's going to crush the independent pharmacy," he said.
Which makes it difficult to turn away business -- even if it's for sales of a cold medication that's likely being diverted for illegal use.
West Virginia authorities have seized more than 460 clandestine meth labs statewide this year, a record number. At the current pace, meth lab busts could nearly double last year's total. Police blame the meth lab increase on the widespread availability of pseudoephedrine in West Virginia.
At the start of November, Michael posted a sign on the pharmacy's front door that tells customers that Meds 2 Go no longer sells Sudafed and other pseudoephedrine products.
A week has passed, and people still come to the small pharmacy in Lincoln County and ask for the cold medication. Michael figures those inquiries will stop soon, as word spreads that Meds 2 Go no longer carries the meth-making ingredient.
"It's like a gravy train," he said. "When the gravy stops. They stop."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.