Subscribe (free)
About NaturalNews
Contact Us
Write for NaturalNews
Media Info
Advertising Info
Behind the counter

Unanswered Questions Remain Regarding BTC Pharmaceuticals

Thursday, November 29, 2007 by: Teri Lee Gruss
Tags: behind the counter, pharmaceuticals, health news

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
(NaturalNews) Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Director of Health Research at Public Citizen, recently called for more time, research and input regarding the FDA proposal to create a third class of drugs to be sold behind the counter (BTC) by pharmacists. Public Citizen is a national nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to “represent consumer interests in Congress, the Executive Branch and in the courts”.

The website (www.worstpills.org) is a Public Citizen site devoted to providing unbiased, expert information on prescription drugs.

Dr. Wolfe says that questions remain about the safety, cost and need for a proposed third classification of drugs by the FDA and asks:

• Do pharmacists have the time and training to explain drug use and side effects to customers? If not, who will provide and pay for this training?

Will pharmaceutical companies pressure the FDA to have some of their prescription drugs reclassified to BTC status to avoid regulation?

Will lack of physician oversight in the prescribing process turn pharmacies into “drug vending machines” posing increased health risks to the public?

In a notice to its members, the American Pharmacists Association (APA) lists 25 questions that the organization would like input on regarding BTC availability of certain drugs prior to the FDA Public Comment on November 14, 2007. (A link to the full text is provided in the reference list below)

The role of the pharmacist is central to the BTC discussion. The APA list of questions is a thought provoking compilation of topics that need to be addressed if we are to thoroughly grasp the implications of such a ruling by the FDA.

For example, the APA asks “Would special training be needed for other pharmacy staff to aid in managing the work flow (storage, record keeping, distribution) and additional BTC responsibilities of the pharmacist(s) and the pharmacy? If so, what type of training or measures should be put in place? What impact would BTC availability of drugs have on the practice of medicine? ”

These are important questions that require well defined answers if we are to understand who will be accountable for safety issues related to BTC sales of certain drugs. The self prescribing customer may be the one ultimately accountable for requesting a BTC drug. What guidelines can the public look to when they are assessing a need for a drug and require a thorough understanding of both common and infrequent adverse side effects of potential BTC drugs like statins?

Anyone that saw the ABC News 20/20 Undercover Pharmacy investigation earlier this year will certainly want answers to all of the questions the APA poses. It is not unheard of that part time, untrained staff assists pharmacists; especially at busy pharmacy locations across the US.

Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand have already reclassified a number of drugs to BTC status. The APA notes that in these countries, “typically, the pharmacist is required to ensure the patient meets certain criteria prior to dispensing, to provide education on proper use, and to monitor”.

Educate, dispense and monitor. Is it realistic to think that these steps can be comprehensively carried out in already busy pharmacies across the US?


About the author

Teri Lee Gruss, MS Human Nutrition
STAY INFORMED! Free subscription to the Health Ranger's email newsletter
Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.