GAO Report on a Behind-the-Counter (BTC) Class of Medicines

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report March 23 entitled Nonprescription Drugs: Considerations Regarding a Behind-the-Counter Drug Class. While the report does not include a recommendation either for or against a behind-the-counter (BTC) class of drugs in the United States, GAO concludes that they found no association between the restrictions placed on the availability of particular drugs in our sample by the study countries and the presence of a BTC drug class. The report stresses that several important issues would have to be addressed before a BTC class could be established in the United States, including:
  • Pharmacist roles and responsibilities
  • Training
  • Ensuring confidential counseling
  • Workforce sufficiency
  • Data infrastructure
  • Cost
  • Related pharmacist compensation
  • Pharmacist liability.