WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire — On Feb. 19, 2014, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) released the following statement regarding a new economic impact study conducted by Dr. Serkan Catma of West Liberty University. The study, which was supported by a grant from CHPA, examined the potential costs associated with a proposed prescription requirement for cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephedrine—common products like Advil ® Cold & Sinus, Claritin-D ®, Mucinex ® D, and Sudafed ®. The West Virginia Senate is currently considering a bill—Senate Bill 6—that includes a prescription requirement for those medicines. The House of Delegates is expected to consider a similar version of the legislation in the coming days.

Dr. Serkan Catma

Dr. Serkan Catma

Highlights from the new economic impact study:

  • The annual direct cost to households in West Virginia is estimated to be slightly more than $3.7 million in West Virginia.
  • The legislation would cost $1.83 million for West Virginians who do not currently have health insurance coverage.
  • If the legislature passed a prescription requirement, the number of doctor’s visits for upper respiratory infections is estimated to increase by 78,817 annually.
  • West Virginia would lose approximately $321,309 in sales tax revenue every year.
  • Over a ten-year period, a prescription requirement would cost the state a total of $149.4 million.
  • Under the proposed law, the state would experience approximately $8.3 million in lost productivity per year due to time spent at the doctor’s office and the inability for individuals to have immediate access to over-the-counter treatment options.

“In conducting this economic impact study, our mission was not to pass judgment or analyze the soundness of the policy itself but to instead focus strictly on the costs and budget implications associated with a prescription requirement,” Dr. Catma said. “There is no doubt that West Virginia’s methamphetamine problem calls for new thinking and effective policies in the legislature and we commend the legislature for looking for ways to address the problem.”

“We want to thank Dr. Catma for shedding light on the substantial costs of a prescription requirement and how they will impact law-abiding West Virginians, many of whom rely on nonprescription cold and allergy medicines on a regular basis,” said Carlos Gutierrez, senior director and head of state government affairs for CHPA. “Lawmakers should know the true costs before voting on any proposal to restrict non-prescription access to popular allergy and cold medications. Our industry is committed to working with policymakers in West Virginia to develop and implement alternative measures that restrict access by criminals but don’t punish law-abiding consumers or cost the state millions of dollars in additional medical costs or lost sales tax revenue.”

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 133-year-old trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to promoting the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in America’s healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy.