This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

FDA Peers Over the Counter

The Tufts study, published in the Jan. 1 edition of the British Medical Journal, added that "insured patients faced with high co-payments on their prescriptions may also benefit financially from over-the-counter availability."

Switching drugs from Rx to OTC status "is an evolution," Joshua P. Cohen, senior research fellow for the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, said in an interview. "It's based on a combination of clinical factors, consumer responsibility and the changing role of the FDA."

Cohen expects another flurry of Rx-to-OTC switches in the next few years amid an environment of rising drug costs, insurance company pressure and patent expirations on big-selling drugs. "It is, for the most part, cost-driven," he said.

Since the mid-1970s, changing physician, regulator and patient attitudes have affected the marketing of antihistamines, pain relievers, heartburn remedies, hair-loss treatments and smoking-cessation drugs. Some of the most famous prescription names of yesteryear -- Claritin, Rogaine, Pepcid, Zantac, Nicorette, Prilosec -- are all now sold without a prescription.

Is Mevacor next? Four years ago, Merck asked the FDA to make it a nonprescription drug, but FDA advisory committees said Merck failed to prove the drug could be used safely by consumers without a prescription. The FDA also rejected an attempt by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY - Get Report) to get the cholesterol drug Pravachol approved for OTC use. Bristol-Myers Squibb recently submitted another request for OTC Pravachol, but only Mevacor is scheduled for an FDA advisory committees' review on Jan. 13 and 14.

Saving Money

When companies switch drugs, consumer savings often depend on whether the out-of-pocket cost for an OTC drug is lower than the co-payment someone makes to his insurer for an Rx drug.

"There is a lot more to consider than just the cost of prescription co-payments, which vary greatly," says the Consumer Products Healthcare Association. "Other circumstances must be factored in, such as the fee for the doctor's visit, travel costs and time off from work."
2 of 4

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
BMY $60.61 0.00%
AZN $31.67 0.00%
MRK $55.37 0.00%
PFE $32.66 0.00%
AAPL $113.29 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,643.01 -11.76 -0.07%
S&P 500 1,988.87 +1.21 0.06%
NASDAQ 4,828.3250 +15.6170 0.32%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs