All Medicine Should Be Over the Counter

The theory is we should protect people from themselves. 

Well it’s interesting you ask that because historically in the United States, all medicine was available over the counter without a prescription.  It’s interesting to note one of the first “medications” that you needed a prescription for in the United States was beer.  Because beer was prescribed at Prohibition and doctors would prescribe beer for various ailments, for small pox, for rabies, for measles.  I should add, not effectively.  This is not a good remedy.  And from that, from the interest in protecting the rights of doctors, over time, the prescription right of doctors, which is really what it’s about.   


The theory is we should protect people from themselves.  People don’t know the consequences of the medication.  The reality is, in the world of the internet, in the world of the educated consumer, most people go to the doctor and say, “This is what I want medically, and there are enough doctors out there that honor this request anyway. That the harm of not letting some people buy medication over the counter and forcing them to have a doctor’s appointment with the added cost will keep certain people from getting the medical care they need. In my opinion it is a far greater risk than the small number of people who might not be educated enough or informed themselves enough to use medicine in a dangerous way. 

I think it’s important to keep in mind there are many people out there, and I see them every day who really do need medication.  Medical medication, psychiatric medication, who know they need it, who don’t get it because they haven’t been able to get to a doctor, or can’t afford a doctor, or have time to see a doctor to get the prescription. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

This 1997 Jeff Bezos interview proves he saw the future coming

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.

Technology & Innovation
  • Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
  • He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
  • Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
Keep reading Show less

Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
Keep reading Show less