FDA May Ease Rx Drug Sales

Agency considers 'behind-the-counter' drug sales by pharmacists
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2007 5:55 AM CDT
Customers arrive and depart a CVS location, in Plymouth, Mass., Tuesday, May 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The federal Food and Drug Administration may allow more drugs to be sold by pharmacists without a prescription if they are kept behind the counter off display shelves. The FDA  announced a hearing next month to explore the "public health benefit of drugs being available without a prescription but only after intervention by a pharmacist," reports the Wall Street Journal.

Australia, Canada, New Zealand and several European countries already have a similar status for some drugs, including certain contraceptives and some drugs that lower cholesterol. Pharmacists determine if a patient meets criteria to obtain a certain drug and instructs consumers on proper use.