Commentary: Lots Of Drugs Should Stay Behind The Counter

For all the current brouhaha over Medicare coverage of prescription drugs, you'd think it was the only battle being waged over the pharmaceutical industry in Washington these days. But just outside the Beltway, on June 28 and 29, the Food & Drug Administration will hold hearings to consider whether drugs for treating such serious conditions as high cholesterol, hypertension, and osteoporosis should be made available over the counter (OTC), instead of with a prescription from a doctor. If the FDA eventually gives the nod, there could be a flood of conversions. Already, drugmakers have begun pushing for such switches, with FDA hearings on the switch of two prescription drugs to OTC status scheduled for July.

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