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OTC CAPSULE BEHIND-THE-COUNTER PROGRAM, "PHARMACIST CHOICE,"

Executive Summary

OTC CAPSULE BEHIND-THE-COUNTER PROGRAM, "PHARMACIST CHOICE," will be launched by the Michigan Pharmacists Association in October, the association announced in an Aug. 2. release. The voluntary program, called "Pharmacist Choice," will involve "initially select OTC capsule medications" that a participating pharmacy chooses to make available from behind the counter only. Such products could include analgesics, cold capsules, diet preparations, menstrual medications, and laxative capsules. The association asserted that the creation of a third class of drugs meets the public concern over the potential for "tampering of medications sold on a self-serve basis." According to Michigan Pharmacists Association Executive Director Louis Sesti, because "all tamperings have been a product of self-serve, we see the tampering issue as a phenomenom of self-serve." He explained that the association decided to initiate a "marketplace third class," to avoid tampering incidents rather than to rely on legislative remedies. The release notes three conditions that must be met for a drug to be included in the Pharmacist Choice inventory: "(1) The product has never been offered for sale on a self-serve basis; (2) The product has not been resold; (3) All personnel in the pharmacy have been properly advised and instructed." Thus, Sesti said, only drugs bought directly from wholesalers and distributors may be stocked behind the counter. Drugs already on shelves or returned for refund will not be added to the "Pharmacist Choice" inventory. Because of space limitations, pharmacists of individual stores will decide which brands to choose for their personal "Pharmacist Choice" inventory. Sesti added that one "by-product" of the program may be that pharmacies could be "in a position to better buy" an OTC inventory to match their consumers' needs. The program will be launched in October, giving the Michigan Association the rest of this month to determine the kind and quantity of drugs to put behind the counter. The campaign will be promoted to the 2,200 pharmacies in Michigan, as well as to other state pharmacy associations nationwide. "State pharmacy associations are encouraged to consider participation in their respective states," the release says. Participating pharmacies will be sent a "Pharmacist Choice" kit, which costs $75. A legal contract, whereby the pharmacist agrees to follow the three terms and stipulations of the program, is a major feature of the kit. Also included will be an instructional booklet, a promotional counter stand and brochure and "Pharmacist Choice" stickers to be affixed to all products the pharmacist identified for the program.

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