You might have noticed that some of the drugs you see in drugstores or even grocery stores used to only be available with a prescription from the doctor. Are these over-the-counter medications the same thing? Do they work just as well as the prescription version? What is the process that a prescription drug goes through to become an over-the-counter medication?
Once prescription drugs are approved for release to people, the company that introduces them to the market holds the patent for the drug, so it cannot be copied and sold by another company. This patent only lasts for a certain amount of time. When the patent expires, other companies can release generic versions of the prescription drug to be offered to patients at a lower price.
Prescription drug companies release their drugs over-the-counter to improve their profits and protect them from dropping due to competing companies. If a product is sold over the counter, it is likely that more people will buy it, since they don’t need to visit the doctor and acquire a prescription. Releasing a prescription drug over the counter will eliminate the need for generic drugs that are only available from the doctor’s office.
Sometimes prescription drug companies will also release a tweaked version of their old prescription medicine for those who have been taking the prescription as covered by their healthcare. People may not want to pay out of pocket for the over-the-counter version of the drug they have been taking, so the company will release a drug that has a different ingredient or an extended release time.
The prescription drug companies must spend some of their money designing a new ad campaign that will draw people to buy their over-the-counter product, as well as encourage them to go to their doctor and get the new form of the prescription version. The prescription drug company relies on the fact that their advertising will work and people will begin to purchase their medicine.
The prescription drug company must get the permission of the FDA to begin selling their drugs over-the-counter. The FDA regulates all types of drugs, and they will ensure that the prescription is ready to be released to the public without a prescription. Some of the key components to drug safety is that it cannot be misused or cause a dependency, it must have more benefits than risks, and it does not need the supervision of a doctor to be purchased and administered.
If you have taken a prescription drug that is now over-the-counter, you should probably continue to take it if it has had the desired effects on you. You can incorporate the over-the-counter medicine into your medication schedule just like you can a prescription medicine. Before you do this, you should contact your doctor to make sure that any over-the-counter medications you’re taking will not interfere with the prescription ones. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, it’s important that the drugs you take are safe and help you to feel better.
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