A computer program that helps track pseudoephedrine purchases is credited with blocking the attempted purchase of more than 52,000 boxes of cold medicine in Illinois in the first 10 months of 2014. Illinois law enforcers underwent training on NPLEx in Springfield. The program, used in 30 states, records the names of those trying to buy the medicine – an ingredient in meth – and instantly tells the pharmacist whether the transaction is approved.
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“We’re going to report back to the pharmacy a Y or an N,” says Krista McCormick, a representative of NPLEx's developer, Appriss of Louisville, Ky. “If you’re blocked, you’ll just be handed a piece of paper, saying, go visit this web site; it’ll give you your 30-day (purchase) history.” IRMA, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, is helping with the training and is against proposals to make pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug. Rob Karr, IRMA’s president, says it adds cost and inconvenience to what should be a safe, over-the-counter drug. Besides, he says, programs such as NPLEx make such laws unnecessary.