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OTC Advisor self Care For Dermatologic Disorder

Any community pharmacist most likely will agree that self-care in the United States continues to be a growing trend. Patient purchases of OTC products have consistently risen, for many reasons. The convenience of treating a condition with an OTC product is appealing to the typically busy patient, who seeks to avoid a lengthy and expensive office visit in favor of meeting the demands of home and work. In
addition, patients in the information age have an increased level of awareness about health. Using Internet resources, patients prefer to diagnose and treat themselves at home with the click of a button. Households are inundated with direct-to-consumer advertising, which empowers the average American to “find out if this product is right for you.” Finally, rising health care costs and a growing number of underinsured or uninsured patients have contributed to the increased use of OTC products. During this time of strain on the health care system and uncertainty about health care reform, patients prefer to avoid paying physicians’ fees, traveling to physicians’ offices, and missing work in favor of using an inexpensive OTC product.

The OTC Market

The sale of OTC products constitutes a huge market in the U.S. According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), U.S. retail sales of OTC medications in 2008 totaled $16.8 billion, excluding Walmart sales.1 TABLE 1illustrates the growing number of OTC sales by category from 2005 through 2008.2Approximately 1,000 active ingredients are used in more than 100,000 OTC products available in the U.S. marketplace. Eighty-four ingredients, dosages, or indications have made the switch from prescription to OTC status since 1976. Eighty-two percent of U.S. women and 71% of U.S. men have used an OTC product in the last 6 months to treat at least one common health ailment.3 In addition, 18.9% of Americans have reported taking one or more dietary supplements in the past year, and 37.2 million Americans have stated that they use herbal remedies regularly. The top-selling herbal supplements in the U.S. in 2000 were garlic, ginkgo biloba, and glucosamine.4

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