05.03.2012 0

FDA helps reduce costs by turning some Rx medications into OTC

By Rebecca DiFede — For years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has put regulations on all drugs that treat ailments beyond common headaches, colds, hemorrhoids, etc. But according to an article in the Washington Times, the bureaucratic FDA might be loosening their regulations and allowing consumers to get medications for illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma without a prescription.

This will alleviate the cost of multiple doctor visits for patients with conditions that require a consistent medicine regimen. Rather than having to waste time and money making a doctor’s appointment every time the prescription refills run out, patients can simply report directly to their local pharmacy and pick up the drugs they need without incident.

This new ruling would apply to both patients who are currently diagnosed with disorders, as well as new ones who will be able to self-diagnose through online questionnaires or kiosks located in the pharmacy. This is another time and money saving addition that could really lighten the burden on people who frequently take medication.

With certain prescription drugs being mass produced for over the counter sales, it means insurance will no longer cover their purchase. However this will be counter-acted by the fact that once the new OTC drugs are introduced and the market situates itself, the price will drop significantly and the need for those medicines to be covered by insurance will be eliminated.

Also, this will give more people a chance to have access to the medications they need without the stress of having to schedule doctor’s appointments around their work schedules or during the time that they are caring for their children. This way they can walk into their local pharmacy, speak with the pharmacist, and walk out, medicine in hand, in time for lunch.

This is an excellent example of a way that the government can begin get out of the way. Instead of multiple visits to refill prescriptions, patients may be diagnosed with a single visit to the doctors’ office. In the long run, this will save millions of dollars every year. From a limited government perspective, this plan will be very beneficial to both patients and doctors alike.

Naysayers fear that it will be unsafe for people to self-diagnose and essentially administer themselves medications without a doctor’s approval, however it is not the government’s responsibility to make sure people double check before taking the right medicine, else there would be no OTC medications.

If patients wish to go straight to the pharmacy and completely gamble their health because of the answers they printed out on a form, without the consultation of any professionals whatsoever, that is their choice. The structure of the entire country’s medical care cannot be framed around anomalies.

Comments on this proposal are due to the FDA on May 7, so hopefully soon this rule will begin to take effect. This is one small step for the people, and one giant leap for freedom as a whole.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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