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PLEASANTON, Calif. and CINCINNATI Ohio -- In a nod to the seriousness of the spread of the illegal drug methamphetamine, Safeway Inc. and the Kroger Co. said yesterday they will begin moving certain over-the-counter pseudoephedrine (PSE) medications to what they called secure locations in the store, such as behind in-store pharmacy counters.
Safeway said it will implement the new policy within 90 days, and said it will also continue its current policy of limiting multiple-quantity purchases of products containing PSE, the key ingredient used for production of the illegal drug.
"We want to do our part as a responsible retailer to assist law enforcement with this growing problem," said Steve Burd, Safeway's chairman, president and c.e.o. "We will continue working to forge reasonable and effective solutions that address this serious issue."
Kroger's group v.p. Mike Ellis issued a statement explaining that the chain is seeking a balance between security and meeting its shoppers' needs. While Kroger strongly supports efforts to curb the abuse of pseudoephedrine, he said, "We know that many of our customers depend on these products for quick, effective relief from colds and allergies. We believe our decision to move select products to a secure location will ensure that our customers continue to have access to these medicines, while also assisting state and local law enforcement officials in the fight against drug abuse." In stores that have no pharmacies, and as law allows, Kroger is evaluating whether to stock a limited variety of these items behind a service counter in order to continue serving our customers.
Ellis said Kroger, which operates approximately 1,900 retail pharmacies around the country, would also continue working with its suppliers on reformulating these products so that they contain alternative ingredients.
Several states have restricted the sale of certain cold and allergy medications containing PSE to curb illegal "meth" production. Earlier in the year, CVS, Target, Albertson's and Wal-Mart took similar actions to restrict the sale of OTC psuedoephedrine medicines.