Making an RX an OTC

I was just alerted to this article from the Washington Times about letting certain prescription drugs become OTC products under certain circumstances. According to the article one would simply have to ask some questions at say a kiosk in the pharmacy for example and then be able to buy drugs for certain chronic conditions. The story can be found here:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/29/fda-may-let-patients-buy-drugs-without-prescriptio/?page=all

For starters I want to point out the obvious and that is that this is a suggestion by the FDA. Mmmhmm, the FDA. For anyone that has any question about how I feel about the FDA lets just say I think most of what they do is a waste of my tax money. Of course they are mostly funded by big pharma now so I’m sure my tax money covers just the vending machines in the halls.

Lets indulge the argument for a moment just for the sake of argument. I’m now a 63 year old whose grandfather died of a heart attack 60 years ago. I had my cholesterol checked 3 years ago and it was 240. I take lisinopril for my blood pressure which is well controlled by my doc and the medicine. I’m thinking (again this is for the sake of argument, if it were really me at 63 I wouldn’t be worried about my cholesterol so much as I would about my retirement fund) my cholesterol might be a problem so I answer a few questions and the kiosk says that I’m the perfect candidate for some simvastatin or atorvastatin, both cholesterol lowering medications. I swipe my debit card and a few seconds later I get a vial with some pills in it with instructions on the label. I might talk with the pharmacist about how my car is running and if there is anything I should be worried about. If my pharmacist is a typical grad of an ACPE accredited college of pharmacy he/she will tell me to take it in the evening if it’s simvastatin and to avoid grapefruit juice or any time of the day with atorvastatin. A savvy pharmacist might even recommend some CoQ10. I go off along my way knowing that I just got some medicine and I didn’t even have to go to the doctor’s office. Swell!

Now I take my statin, in this case most likely for primary prevention, not knowing that there is no real evidence to back up all cause mortality reduction with a statin for primary prevention. Maybe my muscles will ache some, but hey I’m gettin older and that’s supposed to happen. I’ve given up that wonderful grapefruit juice which I love so much (which is an absolute truth by the way) so I can be healthy. I’m saving tax payer money by not going to the doctor and reaping all the benefits of having the medication that I think I so desperately need to save my health. Multiply this by a few million and just start to watch the savings roll in…to the government of course. But that will just mean the deficit will be reduced and maybe, just maybe will have a surplus.

Ok I can’t take all this sarcasm. I could write on but I had to stop. I was feeling sappy. I’m not even going to address the last sentence in the above paragraph because if you live in the United States or are any kind of aware of the current situation here, you know that a surplus isn’t in the cards and this is supposed to be about health of the human body anyway, not the US government. Now don’t get my wrong, I’m all about a pharmacist helping a person make informed decisions about his/her healthcare. I discuss some aspect of lifestyle with at least 1 person every single working day. I would love to have more authority to make more decisions about the medications people use on a daily basis. I’m not trained to diagnose, but I’ve done plenty of research on some of your more major topics like GERD and diabetes that I think I could easily help manage a person with those types of problems. But what is being proposed by the FDA is just something that is downright dumb. Letting a kiosk make your health decisions for starters is about as smart as letting government decide what to do with all of our tax money.

I do believe in freedom. If a person wants to be unhealthy by choice and pay the consequences of those choices that is all fine by me. If you want to disregard everything I tell you at the pharmacy window because you don’t care what I have to say, that is your God given freedom. If you want to be healthy and find ways of beating a disease, that is also your choice and the decisions is yours to make a choice to do something about it. If you are overweight and you don’t like it, then do something about it. If you can’t walk up the stairs without puffing and wheezing like a 60 yr chain smoker, then change something. And for the love seek out someone who can help. If you don’t like your doc, switch. If you need to learn some fitness, find out someone who can help that works with you. If you need to relearn nutrition, then relearn. My knowledge about medications, nutrition and supplements exploded after I got out of pharmacy school because I finally had free time to study things that were more interesting. There is so much knowledge out there and it is ripe for the learning. I think healthcare professionals are great for helping with matters of health, I just think people need to find professionals that relate with them and are truly going to help, rather that ask a series of questions, follow an algorithm and then send you off to a specialist if the algorithm doesn’t fit. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against specialists or family practitioners who are just in over their heads and aren’t afraid to admit it. But find a doc you like and for love’s sake find a pharmacist you like. I’m willing to bet someone reading this blog would find me a horrible pharmacist and would never come to my window. That’s fine by me. Others keep coming back and asking my advice. That’s also fine by me.

Take healthcare into your own hands. Please don’t think that getting your medicine from a kiosk is going to solve anything because it won’t. I suspect this idea won’t make it very far but if it did I believe it would only make matters worse.

CIAO

Disclaimer: All info on this website is for education purposes only. Any dietary or lifestyle changes that readers want to make should be done with the guidance of a competent medical practitioner. The author assumes no responsibility nor liability  for the use or dissemination of this information. Anyone who chooses to apply this information for their own personal use does so at their own risk.

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