According to The Washington Times, the FDA is considering allowing patients to purchase certain prescription medications without seeing, or obtaining a prescription from, a physician. I’m not entirely against the idea, but such a move could cause some problems.
The FDA says over-the-counter distribution would let patients get drugs for many common conditions without the time and expense of visiting a doctor, but medical providers call the change medically unsound and note that it also may mean that insurance no longer will pay for the drugs.
“The problem is medicine is just not that simple,” said Dr. Matthew Mintz, an internist at George Washington University Hospital. “You can’t just follow rules and weigh all the pros and cons. It needs to be individualized.”
Under the changes that the agency is considering, patients could diagnose their ailments by answering questions online or at a pharmacy kiosk in order to buy current prescription-only drugs for conditions such as high cholesterol, certain infections, migraine headaches, asthma or allergies.
By removing the prescription requirement from popular drugs, the Obama administration could ease financial pressures on the overburdened Medicare system by paying for fewer doctor visits and possibly opening the door to make seniors pay a larger share of the cost of their medications.
The change could have mixed results for non-Medicare patients. Although they may not have to visit a doctor as often, they could have to dish out more money for medications because most insurance companies don’t cover over-the-counter drugs. (Read More)
President Obama has been touting lowering health care costs for seniors lately, his campaign did so in their latest web video. So it’s pretty hypocritical that his administration is looking for a way to increase costs for seniors’ prescriptions, is it not?
On the flip side, if ObamaCare is upheld, Americans might have trouble getting in to see their physicians, so having the ability to still get a prescription would be helpful. Maybe that’s what they have in mind.