Despite Serious Allergy Burden in Missouri, Lawmakers Considering Unpopular Restrictions to Certain Allergy Medications
(Washington, DC- March 27, 2012) While millions of Americans from coast to coast struggle with seasonal allergies, residents of some U.S. cities face greater challenges when spring arrives. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recently released its Allergy Capitals project which ranks the 100 most challenging cities to live in with spring allergies.
News of St. Louis’ ranking as #29 on the list arrives just as some Missouri lawmakers are considering legislation—House Bill 1952—that would require asthma and allergy patients to obtain a prescription before purchasing cold and allergy medicines that are currently available over the counter (OTC).
Despite the severe allergy burden in Missouri, highlighted by AAFA’s rankings, Missouri House Representative Dave Schatz introduced a bill that would make it much more difficult for thousands of Missouri asthma and allergy sufferers to receive the care they need.
According to AAFA’s recent Pseudoephedrine Awareness Study( www.aafa.org/PSE), 71 percent of patients oppose prescription-only laws, like HB 1952. AAFA strongly supports HB 1328, the more reasonable legislation authored by Reps. Stan Cox and Chris Carter that targets meth criminals and protects law-abiding Missourians access to safe and effective medicines containing pseudoephedrine.
Since its founding in 1953, AAFA has been dedicated to serving the more than 60 million Americans with asthma and allergic diseases.
According to Bill McLin, the Foundation’s President and CEO, “Combating meth abuse and use should be a top priority for policymakers, law enforcement officials and community leaders throughout the country, and we applaud Representative Schatz for trying to do something about these enormous challenges in Missouri. However, we believe that significant strides can be made in the battle against meth without unreasonably burdening patients and families. HB 1328 is the better approach."
Joy Krieger, Executive Director of the AAFA-St. Louis Chapter, concurs, saying, “For many Missouri patients who suffer from chronic allergy and asthma symptoms, over-the-counter medicines containing pseudoephedrine are the only decongestants that work and the only treatments that offer 12 and 24-hour relief. HB 1952 would prevent thousands of Missouri patients from receiving timely and affordable health care.”
"It is a huge burden on our healthcare system to require these allergy medications to be prescription only. Patients must take time off work to see their physicians, pay a co-payment, and then pay a higher price for the medicine because it goes through a pharmacy. If you don't have insurance, and have no physician, you will further burden our emergency rooms just to get a prescription. On behalf of asthma, allergy, cold and flu patients across Missouri, we urge the Missouri General Assembly to oppose HB 1952 and to support the reasonable approach offered by Reps. Cox and Carter: HB 1328.”
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), a nonprofit organization founded in 1953 for people in the US with asthma, allergies and related conditions including cold, cough and flu, is 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. For more information about AAFA’s Spring Allergy Capitals, visit www.AllergyCapitals.com.
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