FDA Has a Good Idea; Doctors Object

May 4, 2012
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The idea: In a move that could help the government trim its burgeoning health care costs, the Food and Drug Administration may soon permit Americans to obtain some drugs used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes without obtaining a prescription.

The idea: In a move that could help the government trim its burgeoning health care costs, the Food and Drug Administration may soon permit Americans to obtain some drugs used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes without obtaining a prescription.

The Doctors’ Objection: “What the government via the FDA has decided to do is just bypass the expensive doctor and to satisfy some safety concerns of letting people just pick out their medications is make sure they have to get counsel by the pharmacists,” Dr. Mintz [an internist at George Washington University Hospital] said. “I believe there is value to using pharmacists, but not at the expense of primary care.”

The Pharmacists Counter: “We think it’s a great development for everybody — for pharmacists, for patients and the whole health care system,” said Brian Gallagher, a lobbyist for the American Pharmacists Association. “The way we look at it is there are a lot of people out there with chronic conditions that are undertreated and this would enable the pharmacists to redirect these undertreated people back into the health care system.”

More from Paige Winfield Cunningham in the Washington Times.