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FDA Considers Prescription Program

It may not be "just what the doctor ordered," but it may fill the bill in getting some of your prescriptions.

Members of the Food and Drug Adimistation are considering letting pharmacists prescribe some medications. Its a controversy that pits pharmacists on one side and physicians on the other. If the FDA gives the go-ahead you could someday skip your doctor and go straight to your Pharmacist for some drugs.

The new class, known as "behind the counter," could include birth control pills as well as those for high cholesterol and migranes

Pharmacists say they are better educated than ever and ready. On Wednesday, Ed Webb with the American College of Clinical Pharmacy told the FDA, "We believe that pharmacists are well prepared to do this ."

Still, the pharmacists could only prescribe the medicine after first consulting with the patient.even that doesn't sit well with many doctors including members of American Medical Association, which is dead set against it.

It's concerned that drugs that should be monitored by doctors could slip too easily into this new category. Cardiologist Howard Weintraub sees it as a prescription for other problems

"The fact that the pharmacist doesn't have the tools that a doctor has, sets them up to make errors that may either be an inconvenience or could be very costly and dangerous," he said.

But some people like the idea of going straight to a pharmacist.

For now, he FDA is simply on a fact finding mission, but if approved it could be a shot in the arm for Pharmacists and a tough pill to swallow for doctors.

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