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Requiring Prescriptions For Cold Meds Would Strain Illinois’ Health Care System

4.28.16– Rob Karr, Reboot Illinois

A national study by Avalere Health examines a number of states that face a primary care physician shortage and what a prescription requirement on nonprescription medicine would cost Illinois consumers. The results are alarming. Nationwide, nearly 20 percent — fifty-seven million people — live in an area where there are not nearly enough primary care physicians to service the community. Rural America is getting hit the hardest, with 44 percent of rural communities experiencing a major shortage. The results for Illinois were equally staggering.

First, let’s start with the existing physician shortage. The study found that here in the Prairie State, we have 229 primary care physician shortage areas, with 27 percent of Illinoisans living in areas without an adequate number of doctors. Population growth and an aging population is only going to make this problem worse, particularly here in Illinois.

Next, why did the study look at the effects of a prescription requirement for certain nonprescription cold and allergy medicines that contain pseudoephedrine (PSE)? Because a few criminals try to buy these legitimate products to produce illegal drugs like methamphetamine. In past years, proposals have been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly to require a prescription for medicine containing PSE.

Read more here.