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FDA may drop prescription requirements for key drugs

The FDA may drop prescription requirements for key drugs, including those to treat cholesterol and high blood pressure.
March 8, 2012 12:12:56 AM PST
The Food and Drug Administration is considering dropping prescription requirements for several key drugs, including those to treat cholesterol and high blood pressure.

FDA officials said Wednesday the proposal comes in part because it's easier for patients to diagnose themselves with touch-screen kiosks found in pharmacies. Drugs under consideration include those to treat diabetes, asthma and migraines.

Regulators said they hope the move could ease access to certain medications, which could in turn address undertreated epidemics like diabetes. According to reports, an estimated 7 million Americans with diabetes are not diagnosed, which means they do not receive treatment.

"These are discussions that need to start happening as we think about people's health needs and how to improve access," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. "The world is changing and we have to change with it."

The FDA has not discussed specific medications yet, and talks about switching any drugs to an over-the-counter medication are in the early stages.

Officials say a public meeting is scheduled for later this month to gather comments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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