In January we told you about proposed regulations that could limit your access to allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots).
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is proposing rules that would likely limit the ability of allergists to mix allergen extracts for their patients. That may mean that allergy shots are simply not available to many people - or are available, but not covered by insurance. The insurance coverage of this treatment may also be restricted.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America continues to monitor this and speak out on your behalf.
These are the facts about what this means:
- More than 60 million Americans suffer from asthma and allergic diseases.
- For millions, allergy is life-limiting. Imagine the worst cold you’ve ever had.
- Now imagine it lasts 3 months. And imagine it happens twice a year. This kind of allergic disease profoundly affects quality of life. It affects workplace productivity. And it affects attendance and learning in children.
- For these Americans, allergy shots are life changing.
- Allergy immunotherapy is critical for millions of Americans with allergic asthma. It can change the course of a condition that is not only life-limiting, but is life-threatening.
- On average, 10 Americans die every day from asthma.
- Millions of Americans have received safe and effective allergy shots for years.
- During that time, allergists have mixed and delivered compounds specifically made for individual patients using vials of extracts.
- Those compounds are delivered in very small volumes into the skin. We are not talking about giving patients fluids through an IV, or invasive medical procedures.
- The changes proposed by the USP will disrupt a process that has been working safely and effectively, in a way that poses a real threat to patients.
- It seems certain that those changes will make it impossible for an allergist to deliver timely immunotherapy to patients. Access to this therapy will almost certainly be limited.
- Finally, it seems likely that these changes will increase the cost of allergy shots, keeping them away from people who need them.
AAFA's CEO, Dr. Cary Sennett, spoke at the annual meetingof the American Academy of Asthma Allergy & Immunology on this issue.
"AAFA believes strongly in evidence-based medicine and patient-centered care. We have to stand up and say, 'We believe that the recommendations to change how allergy shots are delivered do not fully consider the evidence, nor are they centered on the interests of patients.'”
We will continue to keep you updated, and we will continue to urge that these changes be rejected.