Washington, DC — Thousands of Iowans who get relief from allergies through allergy shots at a clinic could face a dramatic price increase or a loss of that service entirely through proposed federal regulations.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the US Department of Health and Human Services is considering new restrictions which could force allergy clinics to significantly scale back the service or close.
Under the proposed regulations, allergy clinics would be barred from preparing allergy shots in-house. Clinics would have to order the extracts from a limited number of labs authorized to prepare them, causing higher prices, longer wait times and a run on dwindling supplies. Coincidentally, it’s allergy season now and Grassley says he’s hearing from worried Iowa allergists.
More than two-point-six million Americans get allergy shots every year. Grassley says he and several other senators are composing a letter to H-H-S Secretary Sylvia Burwell, asking her to reconsider or reject the proposed regulations.
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, affects as many as one in every three Iowans and accounts for more than 22-million health care visits a year nationwide. Direct costs for treatments across the country were estimated at $11.2 billion in 2005, while indirect costs include an estimated 6-million lost work days a year.