by Liz Smith | bio

Once upon a time, nobody knew what being “allergic” was.

Growing up I knew lots of folks who had what they called “hay fever” — well, hey, that would never happen to me.

But of course it did. Now almost everybody knows they are allergic and some people even know specifically what they are allergic to.

I was fascinated by an article written by one January W. Payne last month in U.S. News & World Report. Ms. Payne has discovered she is allergic to “everything.” She finds a daily antihistamine — in her case, Zyrtec — is a necessity all year round.

Zyrtec is a Tier 3 prescription drug. It costs Ms. Payne a $50-per-month co-pay, although if she’d order meds through her insurer’s mail-order option, it would be $100 for three months.

Last November the Food and Drug Administration approved Zyrtec for over-the-counter sale, where it joined Claritin. Ms. Payne asked herself whether she’d now save money or pay more, “assuming my insurer stops covering the drug.”

The drug now costs about $22 for a 30-day 10-milligram supply. People could also save on doctor visits once they don’t need a prescription. I guess this is good news. Achoo!

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