Over the summer, Joe Biden issued the “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.” Included in the legislation was a push to make more affordable hearing aids available without a prescription. Following a final rule from the FDA, those products are finally arriving on store shelves.
A number of major U.S. drugstore chains have announced hardware that’s either available now or coming soon. The list includes a $799 model from Walgreens, a $200 device from Best Buy, a $199 hearing aid from Walmart and a variety of different options from CVS. In most cases, the hardware will be available as both an in-store purchase and online.
Per the FDA, the new, prescription-free model will make hearing aids up to $3,000 cheaper in many cases. On the subject of prospected costs moving forward, the agency writes:
Currently, states regulate the personnel who may distribute hearing aids. We have no reason to suppose states will impose more onerous restrictions on hearing aids that will be prescription medical devices as a result of this final rule than are currently imposed on distribution of hearing aids. However, it is possible changes in state regulation of prescription hearing aids as well as potentially increased variation in state regulation of prescription hearing aids may increase the cost of hearing aids that convert to prescription medical devices.
Hearing aids are one aspect of the executive order announced back in July to “promote competition in the American economy, which will lower prices for families, increase wages for workers, and promote innovation and even faster economic growth.”
The order also includes items designed to lower prescription drug prices, banning or limiting non-compete agreements, expediting airline refunds and cutting the price of internet bills.