Regulatory Overreach in the Making: FDA Sets Sights on Cough Medicines


Posted by Mattie Duppler on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010, 6:10 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to the FDA's Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Board warning members to take seriously our concerns regarding a forthcoming hearing on the regulation of an ingredient in cough and cold medications. The hearing, focused on the cough suppressant Dextromethorphan, is another crusade in the latest battle by nanny-staters to overregulate and overreach into the private and informed decisions of consumers.

  • Dextromethorphan is a a commonly-used ingredient in over 100 different cold medications. Reports that it is used for widespread recreational use are overstated: studies show that prescription drug abuse is twice as common as the recreational use of cough medicines.
  • The response by some to concerns that this drug is being abused has been to push for cold medications containing it to be moved behind the counter. Such a move would unnecessarily increase costs to consumers at a time when taxpayers are already facing a steep increase in health care costs.
  • Requiring a prescription for widely available medications will limit accessibility to commonly used cold medicines. This arbitrarily alters the identy of a brand by redefining its relationship with consumers, raising serious trademark concerns.
  • Manufacturers have taken the necessary and proper steps to appropriately label these medications to adequately inform consumers of their risks. The FDA would be overstepping its traditional respect for and deference to the labeling and education responsibilities of manufacturers by pushing a relatively benign drug behind the counter.

Find our letter in its entirety here.

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