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Pharmacy & Distribution Market Research Reports & Industry Analysis

The drug distribution system in the U.S. is unlike most other nations in the world that follow centuries-old pharmacy class system, where medicines are available only through pharmacies creating a monopoly on drug distribution.

The U.S. two-class system is divided into prescription and nonprescription, or over-the-counter (OTC), medicines. The advantage is that OTC medicines are conveniently sold in a number of retail outlets so that medicines are available when consumers need them. This emphasis on consumer empowerment directly serves two of the most fundamental demands of any workable health care system -- access and affordability.

In recent years, a few of the world’s pharmacy-only national systems have recognized the growing need for greater access to safe and effective medications. Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Argentina all have been part of this trend toward granting consumers increased access to medicines in more outlets.

The drug distribution system in the U.S. is highly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure only those medications that have a wide enough safety margin and that can be safely and effectively used without the help of a health care professional are available without a prescription.

The somewhat controversial notion of adding a third class of drugs to the U.S. system has been panned by experts and regulators including the AMA and FDA. They say creating a third transition class of drugs would create another health care-disadvantaged population -- those without easy access to a pharmacist at convenient times.

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Pharmacy & Distribution Industry Research & Market Reports

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