Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) President and CEO, Scott Melville, issued the following statement upon final passage of the CARES Act, which among its many sections includes provisions to update and modernize the regulatory system overseeing most over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and to restore OTC eligibility under tax-preferred HSA and FSA accounts.
“During this unprecedented public health crisis, American consumers are relying heavily on over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to help ensure their families’ health needs are being met, while also following CDC guidelines regarding social distancing. OTC medicines not only provide safe and effective relief for a wide variety of symptoms and conditions, but they also make an important contribution to health system sustainability and alleviate unnecessary burden by allowing people with self-manageable symptoms to safely treat themselves without visiting their healthcare provider.
“CHPA is encouraged that lawmakers recognize the important role these medicines play in the lives of consumers and the broader U.S. healthcare system. The legislative package which passed both the House and Senate with broad support includes a bipartisan measure that will reform the nearly 50-year-old regulatory framework that oversees the majority of OTC medicines, called the OTC Monograph system. While the Monograph system is a sound regulatory framework that has served the nation well, it needs to be modernized to reflect changes in science and regulatory processes and to incentivize innovation in OTC medicines. CHPA and public health stakeholders have long supported these commonsense reforms which will provide FDA with more resources and help increase the efficiency and responsiveness necessary to protect and promote consumer health.
“The legislative package being sent to the President also includes a measure to help millions of healthcare consumers save money in the near term by reinstating their ability to purchase OTC medicines with tax-preferred savings accounts, including Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and extending eligibility, for the first time, to menstrual care products. This is welcome news to the nearly 60 million Americans who enroll in these accounts to responsibly manage their healthcare expenses.
“As the nation and our global community respond to this unprecedented situation, our thoughts go to those who have been afflicted by COVID-19 and our praise and support go out to the healthcare providers, emergency responders, supply chain professionals, and public health officials who are on the front lines trying to contain its spread and meet public health needs.”