By Phil Kabler
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislation requiring prescriptions for cold and allergy medications containing pseudoephedrine could cost the Public Employees Insurance Agency as much as $4.3 million in additional expenses each year, PEIA executive director Ted Cheatham told legislators Tuesday.
He told the interim Select Committee on PEIA that figure includes $3.7 million to $3.8 million per year for additional office visits, as well as about $500,000 for the costs of the medications, which, as over-the-counter drugs, are currently not covered by PEIA.
“It’s not significant,” he said of the additional cost. PEIA spends more than $500 million a year for medical claims and prescription drug costs.
Cheatham said afterward the cost estimate is based on the assumption that any legislation making pseudoephedrine available by prescription only would also place it on a list of controlled drugs, which require physician office visits to obtain 30-day prescriptions with no refills permitted…