AMA and Personal Injury Bar On Opposing Sides Of Expanded Rx-OTC Switch Proposal

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  • 05/09/2012
As I noted yesterday  (AMA Seeks To Derail Consumer Health Revolution) the AMA and other lobbying organizations for medical professions sounded the alarm against the FDA's Rx-OTC proposal (     

You would think (if you accept the stereotype) that trial lawyers would warn against the proposal as well.  But Greg Webb, a blogger for the Injury Board Blog Network has penned a measured and thoughtful piece on the FDA's safe use proposal for expanded OTC access.. 

"Representatives of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) have gone on record objecting to the proposed new safe-use class of medications. Roland Goertz, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), stated that the safe-use designation where pharmacists dispensed medications without a patient having to see a doctor first, “could seriously compromise the physician's ability to coordinate the care of multiple problems of many patients.”[1]

Health insurers reportedly have tentatively "approved" of the measure. Without proper safeguards, there is some concern that patients may obtain drugs that they may not need. The insurers also would have to determine how to cover drugs that fell into this category. Additionally, the health insurers were in favor of "expanding access" to helpful medications.

Because pharmacists are more easily accessible than physicians who require appointments for frequently costly office visits, the FDA believes that the “safe-use” designation may benefit many Americans who presently go untreated with legitimate medical needs. Doubtless the collection of comments and the promulgation of a new regulation on safe-use medicines by FDA (requiring additional debate) will cause more lines to be drawn in the sand of looming health issues. Is this the wave of the future for certain medications? Much of it makes sense, and ultimately would save money by preventing potentially unnecessary doctors' visits. What are the unintended consequences?"

Mr. Webb's article is well worth reading because it lays out the FDA proposal clearly.  It is also noteworthy because it shows that the AMA and other groups are more hysterical about the Rx-OTC issue than the trial bar.   

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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