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Bill to Ease Access to Over-the-Counter Drugs Gains Support Bill to Ease Access to Over-the-Counter Drugs Gains Support Bill to Ease Access to Over-the-Counter Drugs Gains Support Bill to Ease Access to Ov...

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Health Care

Bill to Ease Access to Over-the-Counter Drugs Gains Support

Currently consumers must get a doctor's approval before buying OTCs with pretax spending accounts.

Legislators want to make it easier for people to spend pretax dollars on over-the-counter items, such as cold medicine.((Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images))

photo of Clara Ritger
November 7, 2013

Two pharmaceutical associations have added their names to the growing list of supporters for a bipartisan Senate bill that would allow consumers to use pretax dollars to purchase over-the-counter medicine without a doctor's approval.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association are backing the Restoring Access to Medication Act, sponsored by Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan. The NACDS and NCPA are members of the Health Choices Coalition—which sent a letter of support to the senators—and represent consumers, physicians, insurers, and employers.

The Affordable Care Act requires patients with flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts to see a physician and obtain a prescription for OTCs. The Restoring Access to Medication Act would repeal that provision.

 

"These medicines save consumers billions of dollars annually through reducing unnecessary doctors' visits, less time lost from work, and the cost advantage of OTC medicines," the coalition wrote in its letter to the senators.

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