NEW YORK — All Wal-Mart stores will move many nonprescription cold and allergy medications behind pharmacy counters by June because they include an ingredient used to make the illegal stimulant methamphetamine, the company said Monday.
The retailer — which has almost 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in the United States and another 1,600 international locations — will join rivals Target Corp. and Albertson’s Inc. in making such a move throughout all locations. Customers won’t need a prescription, but will need to ask pharmacists for access to the medication.
All three retailers are trying to make it more difficult for customers to easily obtain medications containing pseudoephedrine, which is a key component for making methamphetamine, a powerfully addictive drug. Popular over-the-counter medications such as Pfizer Inc.’s Sudafed and rival Schering-Plough Corp.’s Claritin-D list pseudoephedrine among their active ingredients.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which had already been making the changes, estimates that 60 percent of its stores now sell such abused products behind the counter.
“We will continue with our plan to move the most commonly abused products containing pseudoephedrine behind the pharmacy counter in all our stores by early June,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Jacquie Young.
“The remaining solid dose products containing multi-ingredients will be moved behind the pharmacy counter by September.”