SIGIS updates Eligible Products List
SAN RAMON, Calif. The Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards announced Wednesday that the group is making significant changes to its Eligible Products List — a list of over-the-counter products eligible for reimbursement under flexible spending accounts — in response to IRS guidance issued earlier this month.
That guidance, issued by the IRS in Notice 2010-59 in response to changes made by the Affordable Care Act, requires a doctor’s prescription for the reimbursement of over-the-counter drug and medicines from health plans and tax-advantaged healthcare accounts.
Based on this IRS guidance, the SIGIS Eligible Products List committee completed a thorough review of the list and determined that just more than 15,000 items are impacted and will need to be removed. Even after this significant reduction, more than 27,000 OTC items remain on the list for purchase without a prescription and through a Health Care Debit Card at SIGIS-certified merchants without the need for further substantiation. Items that continue to be eligible without a prescription include such items as insulin, medical devices (crutches, blood sugar monitors, etc.), bandages, contact lens solution and denture bond.
Though the IRS rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2011, SIGIS is releasing a summary of the edits to help SIGIS members begin to prepare for this significant change, the group noted. The detailed SIGIS Eligible Products List will be published on Dec. 15. In the guidance, the IRS granted transitional relief for IIAS merchants, so that IIAS merchants will actually have until Jan. 15, 2011, to update their systems to be compliant with the new guidance.
The following categories have been removed from the Eligible Products List to prevent them from being purchased at an IIAS merchant without a prescription. Categories no longer eligible without a prescription include:
- Acid controllers;
- Allergy and sinus medicine;
- Antigas products;
- Anti-itch and insect bite products;
- Antiparasitic treatments;
- Baby rash ointments/creams;
- Cold sore remedies;
- Cough-cold and flu products;
- Digestive aids;
- Feminine antifungal/anti-itch products;
- Hemorrhoidal preps;
- Motion sickness products;
- Pain relievers;
- Respiratory treatments;
- Sleep aids and sedatives; and
- Stomach remedies.
SIGIS was formed to create a standard industry solution that could be both scaleable and broadly adoptable, while being consistent with IRS requirements. The group includes all stakeholders involved with the process, from pharmacy merchants through plan administrators.
Kaz launches ‘Cold and Flu Central’ Facebook page
SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. Kaz, the maker of Vicks, Honeywell and Braun wellness devices, recently launched a new Facebook fan page named Cold and Flu Central, created to help inform families about some of the best defenses against colds and the flu.
The page includes doctor-approved tips, third-party expert advice and links, product giveaways, drug store availability information, discussions and polls.
Jennifer Trachtenberg, chief pediatric officer for RealAge.com, is the featured pediatrician on the site. In addition, two other experts will be providing tips to fans on how to stay healthy this winter: Jim McDevitt, an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health and certified as an industrial hygienist by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene; and Ted Myatt, a senior scientist at Environmental Health and Engineering. Myatt also is the biological safety officer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard Institute of Medicine in Massachusetts.
To help drive interest in the site, Kaz will be giving away one Vicks Cool Mist humidifier, Vicks digital thermometer or Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer each week.
Lobbyists respond to Senate’s delay to review food safety bill
WASHINGTON A coalition of lobbying groups urged the Senate on Monday to review and pass pending food safety legislation before November elections.
The Food Marketing Institute, which backed the bipartisan bill, issued a statement Monday that the organization was "disappointed" that the Senate elected not to review the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act before the midterm elections. The bill passed in the House of Representatives last year.
"The most important goal of America’s food retailers and wholesalers is to provide nutritious, safe, high-quality and affordable food," said FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin. "We all have a responsibility to work together to improve the safety of our food supply. We believe the focus should be on trying to prevent problems before they occur by providing the FDA the necessary resources and authority to help the agency protect our food supply."
Similarly, the Grocery Manufacturers Association said on Capitol Hill Monday that “the [FDA Food Safety Modernization] Act is too important to delay its passage any further,” noting that the bill’s passage would provide the FDA “with the resources and authorities the agency needs to help strengthen our nation’s food safety system by making prevention the focus of our food safety strategies,” said Scott Faber, GMA VP federal affairs.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act will enhance public health and safety by requiring all food companies to develop a food safety plan, adopting a risk-based approach to inspection and improving the safety of imported food and food ingredients.