Senate Proposes Restoring Direct OTC Purchases With Pre-tax Savings In Covid-19 Response Bill
Tax-policy provision in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which the Finance Committee calls Congress’ phase 3 coronavirus response, would change current language in Internal Revenue Service rules for HSAs, FSAs, Archer medical savings accounts and other health reimbursement arrangements to allow directly buying OTC drugs and would extend the categories of covered products to include tampons and other menstrual care products.
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It’s unlikely any industry stakeholder or FDA official expected a bill providing emergency economic relief to consumers, industries and health care services and facilities in response to a pandemic, including extensive support opportunities for small businesses, would be the vehicle that delivers on both of the industry’s congressional wishes. The supplement industry also looks for help in CARES Act.
Senate pandemic economic relief legislation legislation would reform monograph drug program and allow purchases of OTC drugs with pre-tax health savings accounts. But lingering disagreements between Democrats and Republicans blocked the Senate's passage of the bill on 25 March.
An additional $160m is allocated to FDA in House coronavirus-related stimulus bill aimed at fighting the pandemic and helping the wobbling economy. It would not, as a similar Senate bill proposes, once again allow using pre-tax savings accounts to buy OTC drugs.