Survey: Should the FDA Create a New Drug Category?

October 5, 2007
Marianne Mattera

Take this MedPage Today poll that looks at creation of a behind-the-counter drug dispensing category that would involve pharmacists more heavily in direct patient counseling.

Next month, the FDA will convene a public hearing to consider formalizing a dispensing category -- behind-the-counter -- that would make drugs available without a prescription, but only after consultation with a pharmacist.

"Because pharmacists have the training and knowledge to provide certain interventions, they may be able to ensure that patients meet the conditions for use and educate patients on appropriate use of the drug product," the agency wrote. (See: FDA to Consider Drug Category Between Rx and OTC

The new category -- something that would be midway between Rx and OTC and involve pharmacists more directly in the drug decision process -- is already in use for the emergency contraceptive Plan B and cold remedies that contain pseudoephedrine. The FDA requires that those medications be kept behind the pharmacy counter and sales are limited to customers who show photo identification.

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