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Forced switch, economic slowdown?

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

FDA will "negatively impact employee health, workplace productivity, consumer costs and the patient-physician relationship" if it forces the Rx-to-OTC switch of low- and non-sedating antihistamines Allegra (Aventis), Zyrtec (Pfizer) and Clarinex (Schering-Plough) in accordance with citizen petitions submitted by WellPoint Health Networks in 1998 and 2002, the Institute for Health and Productivity Management says in Aug. 1 comments. "The domino effect from an OTC shift is simple: a lower quality of life and increased out-of-pocket costs for employees would lead to lost productivity for employers because workers either forgo medication or use cheaper sedating products that interfere with job safety and performance," IHPM states. In the U.S., 3.4 mil. workdays and $150 mil. in wages already are lost each year due to allergies, IHPM contends, citing estimates from a 1999 American Journal of Managed Care study...
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