Survey: Patients oppose PSE prescription mandate

WASHINGTON — As many as 71% of cough-cold sufferers in search of decongestant relief oppose a prescription requirement for pseudoephedrine, according to a survey commissioned by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America released Monday.

"Taking away patient freedom by requiring prescriptions for important over-the-counter medications is not a solution to the meth problem," stated Mike Tringale, VP external affairs at AAFA. "Based on our recent survey of allergy, asthma, cold-cough and flu patients, we recognize that timely access to these medicines is critical for people."

According to the findings in AAFA's survey, two-thirds of respondents would support a law for nationwide electronic tracking of medication purchases and 64% would prefer an e-tracking law, rather than requiring a doctor's prescription, to track and block sales of PSE that go over the legal limit.

When faced with the choice, 63% of asthma, allergy, cold, cough and flu sufferers said they agreed that the implementation of e-tracking would be the most effective way of preventing medication sales for illegal uses without penalizing those who truly need them. Only 18% indicated their belief that a doctor's prescription would be the most effective control mechanism. The chief reasons patients in the survey preferred e-tracking include:  

  • It is more effective and less burdensome than requiring prescriptions (66% support);

  • It doesn't infringe on law-abiding citizens who want easy and immediate access to the OTC meds they need (49% opposed a prescription requirement for this reason);

  • E-tracking builds on the existing framework and law enforcement in states and regions (65% support);

  • It can be updated in real time (59% support); and

  • Health records remain private and protected (65% support).

The survey of 2,006 consumers who purchased nonprescription medicines for their condition was conducted by Harris Interactive and supported by a grant from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

The survey report is available online at AAFA.org/pse.