An Interesting Idea — Behind the Counter Medications

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A recent op-ed in the LA Times calls for certain medications to be prescribed by pharmacists. This suggestion is on a continuum with a few other ideas that move select portions of medical practice from its traditional delivery mode to more convenient and cost-effective (but still clinically rigorous) modes. Increasing the practice rights of nurse practitioners and allowing Minute Clinics are ideas along these lines.

The gist of the idea is that for certain medications, it is a appropriate for a pharmacist to prescribe directly to customers who come in and complain of specific symptoms. This should be familiar to anyone whose ever gotten mildly ill in Europe — where the practice is widespread.

Although this seems like common sense, you can sure that the various state medical associations will vigorous protect the existing system.