Reports From the Field: Limiting allergy, asthma drugs may adversely affect patients

The move to limit the use of allergy and asthma drugs by increasing copayments, restricting access to newer drugs, and requiring preauthorization for their use may have had an adverse impact on allergy and asthma patients, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).

"Allergists worry that insurance companies, managed care organizations, and state Medicaid programs may underestimate the impact on productivity and safety that will occur from noncoverage of new asthma and allergy medications," says Bob Lanier, MD, president.

A recent poll of ACAAI members showed that physicians feel that they and their patients are caught in the middle by the move to limit patient access to asthma and allergy medicines. A significant number said they would shift their treatment of allergic nasal conditions to topical nasal steroids to save patients out-of-pocket expenses for non-covered antihistamines.

For more information visit the ACAAI web site at www.acaai.org.