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More bad allergies means more drugs

If one has a tendency for allergic reactions it's best not to aggravate the situation.

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Today, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology wraps up its annual meeting in New Orleans. One of the main topics is how global warming may be making allergies worse. From the Sustainability Desk, Marketplace's Caitlan Carroll explains.


Sneezing: Ah-choo! Ah-choo!

Caitlan Carroll: Gesundheit. More of us may be sneezing in coming years. Italian research shows that hotter weather and higher carbon dioxide levels lead plants to produce more pollen.

Jeffrey Demain is medical director of the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center of Alaska. He says more than 1 in 4 people now struggle with allergies, and global warming is partly to blame.

Jeffrey Demain: So we're seeing longer durations of pollen, and then we're seeing in some cases higher intensity of pollen.

All those runny noses mean solid profits for drug companies, since allergies affect people of all ages. And the drugs are readily available over the counter.

Jim Unland is editor of the journal Healthcare Finance:

Jim Unland: So if I'm sitting at a pharmaceutical company and I look at something like this, it's like a cat walking into a chicken coop.

The U.S. market for allergy medications should reach $15 billion by 2015. Those numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

I'm Caitlan Carroll for Marketplace.

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