Editorial: Perspective Needed on OTC or Behind the Counter
By George Anderson
Rachelle Cohen, an editorial writer for The Boston Herald, writes that things may be getting out-of-hand when politicians are requiring that boxes of Sudafed be sold from behind the counter while allowing pharmacists to sell Plan B, the emergency contraceptive, to women without a prescription.
Seven states to date have authorized pharmacists to distribute Plan B, aka The Morning After Pill, because the Food and Drug Administration has failed to act for nearly two years after its own independent board of scientific advisers recommended it be approved for over-the-counter sale.
Ms. Cohen questions why restricting the sale of Sudafed or other medications containing pseudoephedrine, the primary ingredient used to make methamphetamine, is necessary when other obviously apparent options exist. “God forbid we should just try busting the illegal labs – which, by the way, stink to high heaven and, therefore, ought not be difficult to find,” she writes.
Products containing pseudoephedrine are not the only ones that pose potential risks to consumers, writes Ms. Cohen. “The fact of the matter is there’s no end of dangerous stuff on drugstore shelves. An intentional overdose of Tylenol can be as deadly as a handful of prescription pills. Mouthwash can – and has been – abused by alcoholics.
“Where do we draw the line? And when does common sense play a role in this debate?”
Moderator’s Comment: Do you agree with Rachelle Cohen that common sense is often times set aside when it comes to
deciding what products get placed behind the counter or are sold OTC? What is your answer for coming up with a system that finds the right balance between commerce and the government’s
responsibility to protect its citizens?
– George Anderson – Moderator