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Switching on to consumer choice: Medicines for everyday health

How our consumer strategy is improving quality of life and access to established medicines through innovation

Across GSK, we are focused on helping more people all over the world take steps to improve their health. One way we can do this is by making prescription medications (Rx) more easily available to consumers by switching them to an over-the-counter (OTC) product. This process is called an ‘Rx to OTC switch.’

This involves taking an established prescription medicine and putting it through rigorous testing to ensure consumers are able to diagnose, treat and manage their condition without the need for a prescription from their healthcare professional.

Our most recent Rx to OTC switch is FLONASE® Allergy Relief, which is now available as a new treatment option for the 50 million people in the USA who suffer from serious nasal allergies.

Why do we do this?

By removing the need for people to see their healthcare professional in order to get the medicines they need, these switches can reduce the overall cost of healthcare. In addition, Rx to OTC switches enable more people to manage a variety of everyday health conditions themselves.

otc infographic
Rx to OTC switches

What goes into making this happen?

For an Rx to OTC switch to take place, regulatory authorities require evidence that a medication has an acceptable risk-benefit profile for use by the general public without first seeking treatment by a healthcare professional.

This is assessed by determining how well consumers understand the product labeling and how well they use this information when making decisions about how to use it. Additional studies may be required that provide data on actual use of the medicine by consumers.

This information is used by regulators to consider whether people are able to self-diagnose, self-treat and self-manage their condition.

Our heritage in Rx to OTC switches

We have extensive experience of making tried and tested prescription medicines available to more people. Take a look at our 20+year history of Rx to OTC switches:

We are well positioned to make these switches, drawing on the specialist knowledge of the scientists and researchers in both our Consumer Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals businesses. This allows us to bring our established prescription medications to more patients as over-the-counter consumer products.

otc timeline

We are well positioned to make these switches, drawing on the specialist knowledge of the scientists and researchers in both our Consumer Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals businesses. This allows us to bring our established prescription medications to more patients as over-the-counter consumer products.