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Voice of the People

Feb. 25, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

Voice of the People

SB 6 unfair to allergy sufferers

I am writing on behalf of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and more than 300,000 adults and children living with asthma and allergies in West Virginia.

We are aware that illegal methamphetamines pose serious law-enforcement challenges for West Virginia, which is why AAFA supports proven methods to track, monitor and stop these criminals. But patients, consumers, parents, health advocates and others in West Virginia and across the country urge you to avoid setting bad healthcare policies in place of better law-enforcement practices.

We understand that the state Senate has passed Senate Bill 6, which proposes to restrict consumer purchase of pseudoephedrine (PSE) products to prescription-only. AAFA adamantly opposes legislative approaches that would unnecessarily restrict law-abiding citizens' access to nonprescription treatment options for allergies that contain PSE. We urge you to reject SB 6 in the House.

The prescription requirement approach will lead to significant burdens for thousands of West Virginians who suffer from seasonal or chronic allergy symptoms.

For many of these patients medications containing PSE 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.

SB 6 will force allergy patients to make additional doctor's visits every year and pay more for treatment.

The burden of going to the doctor before buying these safe, effective products will hit West Virginians in ways that they will feel. They will 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.

Taking away patient freedom will not solve West Virginia's meth problem.

William McLin

President, chief executive officer

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

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