BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More
We may take for granted the ease of running to the local convenience store to grab a bottle of aspirin for a splitting headache. But what if we could buy a bottle of Narcan, a nasal spray used to treat an opioid emergency, without getting a prescription first?
The Food and Drug Administration is considering easing over-the-counter (OTC) approvals for some prescription drugs to make them more accessible and affordable for consumers.
“We’re very mindful of the time and financial cost to patients and the health care system to fill a prescription medicine — particularly one taken repeatedly for chronic conditions,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. According to the FDA, prescription drugs must be prescribed by a doctor for the patient and purchased at a pharmacy. The agency is now looking at eliminating the need to visit the doctor and travel to a pharmacy for some of the more commonly used drugs, saving consumers time and money.
Before this can happen, however, drug manufacturers must determine the most effective ways to educate consumers about such drugs and how to take them without medical supervision. The FDA will look at ways to discourage consumers from self-medicating with an inappropriate OTC drug.
Together, these steps could take a while.
The FDA has already made several drugs available without a prescription, including allergy treatments, heartburn remedies and yeast infection medicines.
What do you think? Should more medications be available without a prescription? Share your thoughts with Voices for Affordable Health.