July 16, 2011

Osteopathic Physicians Support Reform of Over-the-Counter Medication Restrictions

CHICAGO, July 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Concerned over a rule in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that requires a physician's prescription for patients to use their tax preferred accounts to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medications, members of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) House of Delegates voted in favor of repealing the section of the PPACA containing this new policy.

In order to use flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, or other tax preferred accounts, patients much first obtain a prescription for items such as vitamins, nasal spray, and heartburn medication.

The Food and Drug Administration has determined that many OTC products are effective and safe for broad distribution and should not require a physician's prescription, so this new stipulation leaves many physicians concerned about the added step for patients and the additional stress on their already busy medical practices.

"This restriction is not only a time consuming step for the patient, but it also adds to a physician's already stretched patient load," says George Thomas, DO, chair of the AOA Bureau on Federal Health Programs. "Unfortunately, if a patient must make an appointment to receive a prescription from his or her physician, that is one less appointment available for a patient who might be seriously ill."

About the House of Delegates

The AOA's House of Delegates, comprised of more than 500 delegates representing osteopathic state medical associations, specialty societies, interns, residents and students from throughout the country, meets annually in July to set organizational policies and elect new officers.

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 78,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs); promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.

SOURCE American Osteopathic Association