AAFA opposes restrictions for OTC allergy medications for Tennesseans

State Rep. David Hawk has introduced legislation, HB 368, to require a prescription for medications that contain the decongestant pseudoephedrine.

 The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says restricting access to safe and effective decongestants is not the right solution.

 According to Bill McLin, the Foundation’s president and CEO, “Meth is a terrible drug that can have a tragic impact on individuals, families and communities. While all sides of this debate are committed to winning the war on meth, we believe that a prescription requirement is the wrong approach and would impose significant burdens on patients and families.”

 In fact, according to the AAFA’s 2010 Pseudoephedrine Awareness Study, an overwhelming majority of patients (71 percent) oppose laws that would require a doctor’s prescription for over-the-counter medicines with PSE. Patients responding to the survey made clear their concerns that a prescription-only mandate would create an undue burden on lawabiding patients and significantly increase the cost of their health care.

 Since its founding in 1953, AAFA has been dedicated to serving the more than 60 million Americans with asthma and allergic diseases. For many of these patients, PSEcontaining medications are the only oral decongestants that work, and PSE is the only decongestant available for 12- and 24-hour relief. Without timely access to these medicines, some patients may experience unneeded health consequences.

 Prescription-only laws would place a significant economic burden on responsible Tennesseans. Patients would have to make appointments and visit a physician when they desire certain medications that are now available without a prescription. In some cases, they would have to take time off from work, visit a doctor and drive to the pharmacy. These additional steps add up to additional co-pays, increased fuel costs and the potential for lost wages at work.

 Electronic tracking or E-tracking has already proven that it works in Tennessee to block illegal sales, according to the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.

 On behalf of the asthma and allergy patients across Tennessee and the nation, AAFA urges Tennessee lawmakers to reject restrictions that will make it difficult, expensive, and inconvenient for patients to get the decongestant medications they need.

 For more information about the AAFA, visit www.aafa.org.

Posted on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 1:02 pm