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Consumers: Don’t impede access to PSE medicines

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Pseudoephedrine medicines_Rite Aid_featuredWASHINGTON — A survey by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has revealed consumer concerns about access to over-the-counter cold/cough and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine (PSE).

AAFA said Tuesday that the five-state survey of 2,027 users of OTC medicine for nasal allergies, asthma and/or cold, cough or flu, conducted by Harris Poll, shows that the vast majority of patients oppose proposed laws to change these medications to prescription-only status.

Of those polled, 92% experiencing cold, cough, flu symptoms or nasal allergies said it’s important that their full-service pharmacy offer all of the safe, effective medications available on the market. Eighty-four percent indicated that a full range of medications available is important even if they aren’t currently using them.

Meanwhile, over 70% of those experiencing cold, cough, flu symptoms or nasal allergies said that they somewhat or very unfavorably view drug stores and supermarkets that remove medications containing PSE. Eighty percent of respondents with those symptoms reported that they would feel somewhat or very unfavorably if they had to travel to more than one retail location to buy all of the medications they need for themselves or their family.

PSE is a key ingredient used in the illegal production of methamphetamine, a growing drug abuse problem in communities nationwide. That has led to state and local measures that regulate access to OTC products that contain PSE, including calls to make such medicines available only with a doctor’s prescription.

“The survey results are evidence that patients who need access to these medicines feel very strongly about access,” stated Meryl Bloomrosen, AAFA’s senior vice president of advocacy, policy and research. “A few states and localities have taken steps to impede people suffering from cough, cold and allergies from easily accessing the safe and effective FDA-approved therapies they rely on, and these places are greatly inconveniencing consumers.”

In the survey — conducted in Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Missouri — 98% of respondents who experienced cold, cough and flu symptoms and 88% of those with nasal allergies indicated that they buy nonprescription medication to treat their ailments. Sixty-five percent of those experiencing cold, cough, flu symptoms or nasal allergies said they would select a decongestant based on a trusted brand that has previously worked for them, rather than the one with the lower price.

“Patients and caregivers prefer to get medication for themselves and their families all at one store, and they deserve that right to access,” Bloomrosen added.


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