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How Would an FDA Ban on Popular Cold Meds Affect Americans?

February 9, 2024


America’s most popular cold medications contain a nasal decongestant that doesn’t work, creating a knotty dilemma for regulators, a new study reports.

Cold remedies containing phenylephrine remain consumers’ most popular choice, despite decades of concern that the decongestant simply isn’t effective, researchers say.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to pull phenylephrine from store shelves, after a key advisory panel voted unanimously in September 2023 that the drug does nothing to clear stuffy noses.

But such a move could create a wave of supply chain disturbances that would leave sick consumers without ready over-the-counter options, researchers report Feb. 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.