The mission of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association is to promote the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and nutritional supplements in America’s healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy.
The environment for OTC products is robust. There are literally hundreds of products on the market that were once prescription. However, up until the last several months, the RX – OTC switch pipeline slowed considerably. The 1990s saw 36 switches, but so far, the 00s have seen only 18, most recently GlaxoSmithKline switched Alli (orlistat), Novartis switched Zaditor (ketoftifen), and of course, Plan B (levonorgestrel) by Duramed finally successfully switched.
Drugs in the pipeline are increasingly complex and treat conditions rather than symptoms, meaning more complex labeling and requiring greater consumer understanding. That makes RX-OTC switches more complex.
I sat down with Linda Suydam, D.P.A., President of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association in Washington last week to discuss both the challenges and opportunities involved in the current environment for OTCs. During our talk she referenced some unique concepts for supporting consumers in an environment where drugs that are candidates for RX-OTC switches are likely to be more involved than we have seen in the past.