“Utilization effects of Rx-OTC switches and implications for future switches” examines the effect on utilization of prescription-based drugs converted to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs for various drug classes. Using monthly drug utilization data from the US for the period 1999–2010 for 9 drug classes, the authors performed interrupted time series analyses to detect a break in the trend of drug utilization following OTC introduction. Their findings indicate that the introduction of the first OTC drug increased drug utilization at the class level by an average of 30% or more. The authors conclude that OTC switches can be an important policy tool for improving public health in drug classes where a significant proportion of the population is untreated and where consumers can effectively manage treatment with limited physician supervision.
Source: Stomberg, C. , Philipson, T. , Albaugh, M. and Sood, N. (2013) Utilization effects of Rx-OTC switches and implications for future switches. Health, 5, 1667-1680.