City leaders agreed to amend the ordinance that prohibits the sale of pseudoephedrine without a prescription in Union.

Police Chief Norman Brune Monday requested the parks, building, development and public works committee change the city law to “mirror” a Franklin County Commission order that allows an exemption to its pseudoephedrine prescription requirement.

The exemption will allow special medications which are designed to prevent the extraction of pseudoephedrine, the vital ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine to be sold without a prescription.

One of those tamper-resistant medications is Highland Pharmaceuticals’ Zephrex-D, an ephedrine-based cough and cold medication manufactured using a lipid base.

“They have just adjusted their ordinance that allows this product to be sold on shelves in Franklin County,” said Brune.

The committee is recommending the full board approve the ordinance.

Detective Sgt. Jason Grellner, head of the Franklin County drug task force, has been working with the company, and counties in the St. Louis area, to get a product in pharmacies that can’t be used to make meth and can be obtained by consumers who need a cold and allergy medication.

That has been the main argument against the prescription requirements — consumers have to contact doctors or schedule office visits to obtain prescriptions, making the process of obtaining the medication more costly and time-consuming.

The new formula would get rid of that inconvenience and eliminate the source of a vital ingredient in the methamphetamine manufacturing process.

“The county has already done the ordinance that provides the exemption,” added Brune. “It covers everything we need to do.”

City Attorney Tim Melenbrink suggested the city amend its ordinance, instead of repealing it, because there could be “political” changes at the county level and that ordinance may be repealed.

If the city repeals its ordinance, and the county later repeals its ordinance, pharmacies could legally sell any type of pill that contains pseudoephedrine within the city limits.

Brune added that amending the city’s ordinance also would allow for violators to be prosecuted in city courts, and fines would be collected in city court.

Over 70 Missouri communities have adopted pseudoephedrine prescription requirements over the past several years.

Zephrex-D won’t specifically be named in the city ordinance because other drug companies may develop a similar product.

A Chicago-based company is already working on one.

The amended city ordinance will contain a provision allowing the county commission to revoke exemption status if it is found that a product that is supposed to be tamper resistant can still have its pseudoephedrine ingredients extracted.