Hearing Aid Prices Set To Plummet After FDA Allows Over-the-Counter Sales

by | Oct 17, 2022 | Politics

Hearing aids for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss will be available over the counter without a prescription or an appointment for the first time starting Monday, a move the Food and Drug Administration estimates could save consumers $3,000 per pair of hearing aids.The FDA has finalized a rule allowing online and over-the-counter sales, and the White House says hearing aids will be available at major retailers, including CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Hy-Vee either Monday or later in the week. Nearly 30 million Americans – roughly one-tenth of the nation’s population – suffer from hearing loss, but estimates indicate only a fraction of those who could benefit actually use them.AdvertisementThe final rule is a victory for President Joe Biden’s administration, which pushed the FDA to finalize the rule as part of its efforts to renew antitrust enforcement.“Right now, if you need a hearing aid, you can’t just walk into a pharmacy and pick one up over the counter,” Biden said when unveiling an executive order on antitrust enforcement in July 2021 that includes instructions to finalize the rule. “You have to get it from a doctor or a specialist. Not only does that make getting hearing aids inconvenient, it makes them considerably more expensive, and it makes it harder for new companies to compete, innovate, and sell hearing aids at lower prices.”It’s also a win for Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who wrote the original 2017 legislation ordering the FDA to allow over-the-counter sales. While former President Donald Trump signed their bill into law, his administration never finalized the process. The White House says the immediate savings could be significant. Walmart and Best Buy, for instance, will sell some models for as little as $200. Comparable devices, when sold by specialists, can cost as much as $5,500. Advertisement …

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