House Committee Takes Step Toward Restoring Consumer Choice

CHPA applauds mark-up of bill to restore over-the-counter medicines’ HSA and FSA eligibility

Washington, D.C. (May 31, 2012)—The House Ways and Means Committee today approved the Restoring Access to Medication Act (H.R. 5842), which would repeal a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that disqualified expenses for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs under health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) without a prescription.

“Today’s action by the Ways and Means Committee is an important first step in reducing the cost of healthcare for millions of Americans," Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) President and CEO Scott M. Melville said. "OTC medicines are a vital part of our nation’s healthcare system and often serve as a first line treatment for many common, self-manageable conditions like colds, allergies, heartburn, and headaches.”

Melville said that before the new law took effect in 2011, nearly 10 million Americans used their FSAs to purchase OTC medicines. PPACA left those consumers with three options:  (1) to seek an unnecessary doctor’s appointment to get a prescription and then submit the purchase for reimbursement under their FSA account; (2) to purchase the OTC medicine out of their own pockets, which will raise the cost of the product between 10-35 percent; or (3) go without treatment. 

“CHPA commends the House Ways and Means Committee for recognizing the importance of securing this fix so that hard-working tax-payers who utilize HSAs and FSAs can better manage their healthcare costs," Melville added. "In particular, we thank the bill sponsors, U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), and Dave Reichert (WA-R), for shepherding this bill through the committee. We urge the House to  vote on this legislation soon.”

Contact: Jenni Terry, 202.429.9260

CHPA is the 131-year-old-trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.