Brian Kelly

(KMOX)-There’s new hope for fighting the scourge of methamphetamine and it comes from a Maryland Heights-based pharmaceutical company.

Highland Pharmaceuticals has developed a form of the drug, that Franklin County Sheriff’s Department Detective Jason Grellner says cannot be made into meth, “It will not alow the shake-n-bake method to work and it is very good, again 100% against both of the other manufacturing styles.”

Grellner says Highland has been able to lock down the pseudoephedrine molecule, “When individuals attempt to extract the pseudoephedrine from the tablet they can only get a very, very small percentage of the active pseudoephedrine out and even the amount of pseudoephedrine they do get out cannot be converted into the drug methamphetamine.”

Grellner, one of the nation’s top meth investigators, calls the development of the drug, “The best news I ever heard”

Grellner says the pharmaceutical industry had told law enforcement, for a decade, that such a ‘lock’ could not be developed.

He says Highland approached him late last year about the product.  He says a couple of the people who work for Highland Pharmaceuticals and live in the Franklin County area contacted him about using the technology to, “fight meth labs in their own back yard.”

Grellner says other pharmaceutical companies could have developed the meth resistant pseudoephedrine sooner,  but he claims they sell so much of the drug to meth-makers it would’ve cost them billions in profits, “It would have been uneconomical for any of those companies for them to develop a product that would have cut their sales by 90 to 95 percent.”

The pharmaceutical industry says only about 3 percent of pseudoephedrine is bought by meth-makers. Grellner says based on sales figures in places where it can only be purchased with prescriptions, “that number is closer to 94 percent.”

Grellner says the new drug, called Tarex, could be on shelves by summer.


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