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FDA Considering Making More Prescription Drugs Available Over the Counter

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With all the research on the number of people who abuse prescription drugs, you might find it surprising that many Americans simply never fill their prescriptions or don't refill them after they run out. The Food and Drug Administration is concerned about this trend and is considering making many prescription drugs available over-the-counter in an effort to get more people to take their medications, especially those for serious health problems like high blood pressure or cholesterol.

Recently, the FDA called a meeting to solicit feedback on whether making some prescription drugs available over-the-counter would encourage people to take their medications. The meeting will be held March 22 and 23 and will ask what prescription drugs might be safe for over-the-counter. Some suggestions include allergy, migraine, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol medications.

In a statement, the FDA called this new idea "a new paradigm" and also said:

…the agency would approve certain drugs that would otherwise require a prescription for nonprescription use (also known as over-the-counter or OTC) under conditions of safe use. These conditions of safe use would be specific to the drug product and might require sale in certain pre-defined health care settings, such as a pharmacy.