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Thursday, February 7, 2013
SB639: Big Pharma Opposes Control of Meth Precursor
By News Release @ 4:46 PM :: 7498 Views :: Health Care, Drugs

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America Opposes Burdensome Restrictions for Hawaiians to Over-the-Counter Allergy Medications

News Release from AAFA

There is no doubt our country’s meth problem must be stopped.  State Senator Josh Green has introduced legislation, SB 639, to require a prescription for medications that contain the decongestant pseudoephedrine (PSE).  The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) says that 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 law-abiding patients and significantly increase the cost of their healthcare. 

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, PSE-containing 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 Hawaiians.  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.

Meth abuse is a serious health and law enforcement issue, but it simply does not make sense to punish legitimate patients with unnecessary and costly trips to the doctor’s office.  Electronic tracking or E-tracking has already proven that it works in other states to block illegal sales, according to the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. 

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

About AAFA

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), a nonprofit organization founded in 1953, is the leading patient organization for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions in the US, and the oldest asthma and allergy patient group in the world.  AAFA is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people through education, advocacy and research.  AAFA provides practical information, community based services and support to people through a network of regional chapters, support groups and other local partners around the United States. For more information, visit www.aafa.org. 

 

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