Industry organizations join forces to dispute new FDA restrictions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Several organizations representing retailers and consumer healthcare product manufacturers want Congress to reverse a provision in the healthcare-reform act that would prohibit the use of flexible spending accounts to purchase over-the-counter medicines without a prescription.

The provision, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed into law in March, goes into effect Jan. 1. Organizations opposing the provision include the Global Market Development Center, a trade association representing suppliers, retailers and wholesalers of general merchandise, health, beauty and wellness products, as well as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the National Grocers Association.

“The new FDA restrictions will add additional confusion [and] expense, and eliminate a benefit many consumers have come to depend upon to cost-effectively purchase medicines they need,” GMDC president and CEO Dave McConnell said in a statement. “Consumers depend on OTC medicines as a first line of defense for their families’ healthcare needs, and retail stores are in the business of providing remedies in an accessible, consumer-friendly way.”