ARLINGTON, VA—July 14, 2011—The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today endorsed the Restoring Access to Medication Act (S. 1368/H.R. 2529), legislation allowing consumers the freedom to use their flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medicines without requiring them to first get a prescription. Current provisions restrict the use of FSA spending to physician prescribed medicines, thus requiring consumers wanting to utilize their FSA to take the costly and unnecessary step of obtaining a prescription for medicines readily available over the counter.

“FMI’s member companies are focused on providing our customers access to OTCs and other medicine at an affordable cost. We are strongly supportive of this legislation which would remove recent restrictions on FSA purchases that have burdened consumers with illogical complications and undue medical expenses to gain access to preventative medicines and medicines that provide relief from minor ailments” says Jennifer Hatcher, senior vice president of government and public affairs at FMI.

Initially introduced by Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb), Representative Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Representative Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), this legislation would save the unnecessary expenses associated with visits to the Doctor, made in order to receive prescriptions for OTC medicines for minor ailments.

According to a survey by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), $5.2 billion could be saved by consumers and taxpayers annually, if only half of the unnecessary medical visits were avoided by greater self-management of healthcare, including the use of OTC medicines. If this legislation passes, 19 million working American families will once again be able to utilize their FSA debit cards in purchasing these cost-effective medicines.