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12-25-2007, 11:13 PM
Pharmacists play a very important role in providing patients information about prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) treatment options. This is especially important as the number of OTC medications grow, featuring new forms of medications that were previously available only with a prescription from a physician.

Just this year, new allergy and weight loss treatment options were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use without a prescription. In fact, today the FDA approved the most commonly prescribed allergy treatment* in the U.S. for use without a prescription and it will soon be available in pharmacies nationwide.

"The FDA approval of a new over-the-counter allergy treatment provides pharmacists with another opportunity to assist patients with questions about the various treatment options available to them," said APhA President and community pharmacist, Winnie Landis. "We are pleased that pharmacists can play such an important role in this consumer education."

The increased availability and range of OTC medications gives patients greater freedom to select a treatment option that works for them. Pharmacists are committed to play a significant part in ensuring appropriate use of prescription and OTC medications. Pharmacists report, on average, that they are asked about OTC medications 33 times per week** and 70 percent of consumers state that most of the time they accept the pharmacist's recommendation***.

About The American Pharmacists Association

The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 60,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. APhA policy does not allow the Association to endorse any particular product.

* Based on IMS total prescriptions from 2004-2007
** Pharmacy Today Annual Over-the-Counter Product Survey, April 2007
*** 2007 APhA Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist Survey, March-April 2007

References:

1. Brass, Eric P., M.D. Drug Therapy: Changing the Status of Drugs from Prescription to Over-the-Counter Availability. N England J Med, Vol. 345, No. 11. September 13, 2001. Paragraph 1, Lines 13-16.

2. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. FDA Approves alli™ (orlistat 60mg capsules) Over-The-Counter; An Innovative and Honest Approach to Weight Loss; Combines a Safe and Effective Product With An Innovative Personalized Support Program. February 7, 2007. Safety and Efficacy section, Paragraph 1, Lines 1-5.

3. Data on File. McNEIL-PPC, Inc.

American Pharmacists Association (http://www.aphanet.org/)