Diabetes Drugs Without a Prescription?

So you’re standing in line at the checkout of your local pharmacy, your shopping basket filled with soap, shampoo, maybe a snack and some aspirin. But you know you forgot one thing — what was it? Oh yes, your diabetes medicine. No worries; it’s sitting right next to the cash register, strategically placed so that people like you remember to replenish their supply.


Far-fetched? Not as much as you might think. According to an article published last week in the Washington Post, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering allowing certain drugs for diabetes, asthma, and migraines to be sold without a prescription. No outcome is certain at this point, and the scenario described above might never come to pass even if the FDA’s plans proceed; pharmacists might be required to dispense a drug even if no doctor’s prescription is required. But if all goes as planned, the way people receive drugs used to treat some common health conditions could change dramatically.

According to the Post article, the FDA is interested in increasing access to established drugs that have been shown to be easy to administer and relatively low-risk. Since over-the counter drugs require no visit to a doctor and tend to be cheaper than even generic prescription drugs, people with no health insurance or limited coverage could benefit from removing prescription requirements. On several past occasions, the FDA has granted petitions from drugmakers to allow a prescription drug to be sold over-the-counter. Examples from the last decade include omeprazole (brand name Prilosec and others), a drug for gastroesophageal reflux disease; and loratadine (Claritin and others), for allergies. The FDA envisions potential customers filling out questionnaires on electronic kiosks in pharmacies, possibly in connection with pharmacy-based diagnostic tests such as blood pressure readings or HbA1c tests, to find out what drug to purchase and how to take it.

The article notes that in the judgment of the FDA, overbooked doctors would benefit from not having to write routine prescriptions and evaluate certain basic diagnostic tests — gaining time to spend with patients who truly need personal care and expertise. In some cases, according to the FDA, an initial doctor’s prescription might be necessary, but after that all refills could be obtained from a pharmacist. Drugmakers would still have to petition the FDA to change the status of a drug, and the FDA would evaluate them on a case-by-case basis.

What do you think — is allowing some diabetes drugs to be sold over-the-counter a good idea? Do the potential benefits of access to treatment for the millions of people with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes outweigh the possibility that they might not receive adequate medical supervision? Would you rather visit your pharmacy than your doctor for simple diagnostic tests? Would you trust the results of a computer if it, rather than a doctor, were to write you a prescription? Leave a comment below!

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  • irene

    I think that would be a very bad idea!!!

  • Pat Schmehl

    This would be a HUGE mistake. People would self medicate & no true proactive preventive measures would be used. Many diabetics would fly under the radar. How can you obtain stats then? That is just wrong.

  • Elisa Fairless

    The FDA needs to reconsider moving certain diabetes drugs to over the counter status. Making a decision to take diabetes medication or any medication involves having a relationship with a physician, nurse practitioner or other qualified health care provider. As for people with no insurance who need help, we need to do a better job with things like community free clinics, etc.

  • Dean

    BAD Idea! Diabetes is tricky,dangerous and can be deadly if medication is not right. Doctor supervision is a MUST.

  • Barry Cushman

    As a Medical Examiner Investigator I find people somnetimes do a poor job of properly taking their meds as they should, often resulting in overdose and death. If this is going to happen, I think I might be seeing more dead people than I do now.

  • jim snell

    Not so fast.

    Costs to diabetics are through the roof.

    Dangerous drugs or drugs with serious complications need to remain on control. Any other drug that has good track record aith liitle complications and no serious incidents could it seem go on over the counter. ie metformin.

    I believe this should be reasonably looked at with open mind with aim of getting costs and paperwork down and stop wasting Doctors critical time on oversight issues having little return but burn off expensive time. Type 2 diabetes costs along with medicare costs and management threaten to destroy our medical, medicare/medicaid system without some rational cost cutting revisions that save us all money and taxes, paperwork and costly oversight where little value.

    Hard and fast no way – serves no one well.

    This also applies to Medicare/Medicaid who institute control and rules about diabetic fingerprick test strip testing limiting strip usage and requiring prescriptions and paperwork on a over the counter test strip to those of us have to use these strips and then if you are sick and need more strips then the asinine one strip a day if you are type 2 or 4 if you are on insulin. Great more stupid red tape where non existed on a over the counter test product where it is already hard enough to get folks to use and test. Great progress there.

  • Joe

    I’m in favor of anything that lowers the cost of medications, particularly those that require life-long use.

  • jim snell

    Regarding simple diagnostic tests such as A1c tests are over the counter and are most helpful and easy to use. That could be expanded for other tests.

  • Bob Fenton

    With chronic diseases, a relationship between a doctor and patient is a must. There are enough people with type 2 diabetes that have not changed the way they eat as it is. Covering poor eating habits with more medications is not the way to stay healthy.

  • Jim Baldwin

    I think it is a bad idea. The danger of hypoglycemia and side affects are too great.

  • nancy Alvarez

    This is the most irresponsible thing l have ever heard of in my 39 years of practice. People have. for years tend to use their friends or loved ones meds out of lack of knowledge. So now we are just going to place on a shelf & say go at it with no controls! So our Drs. have to see. more pts. How about prevent medicine or complications ie: foot ulcers etc. Are we turning into a 3rd world country? SAY NO!! Thank you i?

  • Dan schumacher

    I think it would be a great idea. I get tired of having to go thru my Doc to get refills. If a person thinks they need Doctors supervision then by all means visit with your Doc for advise. I would hope this would save us money at the drug store along with not having to visit with a Doc every time we need a refill. Most of us do the job of watching our own health and adj our meds when it comes too our diabetes.

  • jim snell

    With costs and expenses of diabetes – type 2
    and medicare/medicaid being bombed into th dark ages, we need to find answers that are safe and cost effective that stop the rot of type 2 diabetes.

    No way – is no answer and sitting on one’s hands.

  • joan




  • Lance Spodek

    It is about time that patients are empowered to be pro active in their health choices. The day has come that good factual information is available to allow patients to take greater control of their health. Of course doctors will not be pleased with any action that reduces the need for the patient to come for an office visit but the guild system has been on the decline since the 1600. Great idea, wonderful.

  • Sharon

    I am pre diabetic, hypothyroidic, have mild high blood pressure and I suffer from migraines. (ya just call me lucky)

    I wouldn’t mind being able to get my diabetic med OTC. I would not want to get my thryoid that way. Blood pressure would be fine OTC and migraines, I would love to get that OTC.

    I think perhaps a better solution would be having the ability to see a nurse practitioner in a non doctor office visit setting. Even in the pharmacists office maybe. I don’t think most things should be given freely OTC because there are a lot of people who would NOT use the meds correctly. But I also HATE having to do a full dr exam just to get an extension on existing RX meds. A quick BP check by a nurse practitioner would make life much easier! Any condition that involves blood work would get complicated quickly, but why not blood pressure treatment and anything easily treated?

  • J Steele

    In Canada, diabetics have been able to purchase insulin without prescription from (not their home)pharmacy all across the country for many years. This service has not had negative consequences or been abused by individuals. This
    service is so appreciated by diabetics who require insulin when traveling in a foreign country.
    Insulin can lose potency, vials can fall and break. When a diabetic is forced to find a doctor, medical clinic or hospital to get a prescription, this takes precious time and blood sugar doesn’t wait to rise. Make access to insulin easier for diabetics!

  • Jackie Kelley RN MS CDE

    I totally support this idea for metformin, starlix and prandin (possibly some sulfonyureas but that does get riskier.)
    Here in Florida (perhaps other states too?) Regular, NPH and 70/30 insulin are available without prescription. This SAVES LIVES!
    It is a safety net for the poor, the uninsured, and those that (increasingly) cannot get access to medical care.
    I believe strongly that an unbiased cost/benefit analysis would overwhelmingly prove a significant reduction in the cost of diabetes care without excessive danger to patients.

    Did you know … here in Florida metformin is free at one grocery chain, but has to have an RX?

    Here is my plan: Meds are available BEHIND the Pharmacy counter and there is a requirement that the patient speak to the Pharmacist before being allowed to purchase. Patient is required to sign a form stating they understand the side effects and risks of these medications. (That would be better education than MOST patients get from their physicians offices.)

    Respectfully joining the debate,
    Jacquelyn Kelley
    Certified Diabetes Educator

  • carol

    Bad Idea. Drugs given otc use can be used incorrectly for a lot of different diagnosis. Currently many individuals don’t even know what they are taking and why. I like the nurse practitioner idea for getting the Rx for the diabetic medications. Besides their follow-up is more consistent and they have better communication skills.

  • John Zimmerman

    In my opinion the most time spent by my physician in prescribing my diabetic medication (ActoPlus Met) was when he first determined that it might be beneficial to me. Subsequent renewals of that prescription have been based almost entirely on lab test results, which take little time from my doctor’s busy day.

    My concerns are primarily with the elimination of those watchdog lab tests if the drug is made OverTheCounter (OTC), and whether my health insurance will continue to pay for the medication?

    I see this move on the part of the pharmaceutical industry as one that allows them to vastly increase the market for their drugs while decreasing the cost to insurance companies. I do NOT see this proposed change to OTC as having any benefit to me as a patient, and possibly having a considerable negative impact to me, both medically and financially!

  • Joe

    It’s kind of interesting how many people seem to think the average person is too stupid to manage their own daily medicines.

    After all, we allow Tylenol to be sold over the counter, and that stuff is deadly in realtively small doses.

  • Susan

    And if the patient decides to pick up a bottle of metformin while they are out shopping- who will monitor when the last serum creatinine was checked? The computer? I think not. Patients do not have to “come in” for an exam to refill their metformin. However, labs are reviewed with each refill request to make sure the refill is appropriate. Do I like doing tedious work? NO. However, it is part of what I do for my patients- and I do think that bypassing the provider would put patients at increased risk.
    I am always in favor of empowering patients- but I fear there would be problems with this plan. I cannot think of a single medication that I write prescriptions for in my diabets practice that I consider so “safe” that it could be used over the counter. Sulfonylureas? NO. TZDs? NO. Biguanides? NO… etc.
    Test strips are another issue- I feel patients should have access OTC at a REASONABLE price for test strips for branded meters.

  • Otto

    Any drug that you take can kill you if you don’t keep track of the amount,time and record side effects. People are going to the hospital every day of over dose from over the counter drugs by not reading and some time die .Most people that use insulin keep a record and check to keep control of their sugar.

  • Kathy P

    A Doctor/Patient relationship is important on getting educated on Diabetes. I know the costs of food, to eat right, and medications for someone that does not have insurance and is to young for Medicare or not qualify for Medicaid is bad enough at this point but do not take that relationship lightly. My doctor gives helps me with the adjustments and usages on all my meds. The drug interaction for some over-the-counter meds DO NOT agree with my RX. Think about this before……

  • Charles

    It seems that most negative comments are from people that earn money from Diabetics.It reeks of an organized campaign to discredit any competent unbiased discussion.
    Most people are capable of the daily routine that is required to maintain healthy A1Cs. I assure you that after having Diabetes (type 2 Insulin Dependent)over 30 years I know when I am having problems and need a medical professional.

  • jim snell

    Neat – this discussion has surfaced some great ideas and concerns.

    For me, I have to log and manage my meds and insulin all the time. I do not want to put patients lives at risk but I would rather my doctor have more time to spend on working my diabetes issues with me rather than having to spend excessive paperwork time on approving drugs that could be safely dispensed OTC or as one person said behind counter and sign form.

    Canadians have done this for years and including light duty codiene asprins etc (or did – my age is showing).

  • Judy

    More education on nutritional eating needs to be the focus for Diabetes care. Too often more insulin and more drugs are used far too quickly. Diabetes is a drug industry in itself and it will only become larger as time goes by. As helpful/necessary as the drugs can be, the importance of eating foods that enhance diabetic healing should be heeded. Also, when doctors add more drugs for other health issues it becomes more difficult to maintain health, (interactions, overload for the system, etc.) That is why healthy eating (decreasing sugar, wheat products, sodium) will become more important than ever for the person with diabetes over a long period of time. Diabetics have every reason to maintain health in order to look forward to a long, healthier lifestyle without heart or kidney problems, joint pain, and all the other issues that Diabetes affects.

    Judy Gloede

  • Toni

    When Allegra (fexofenadine)was made available over the counter, I went from having to pay $4.00 for a 30-day supply to having to pay $18.00 to $21.00 for a 30-day supply because my Medicare Part D prescription coverage no longer covered it. So those of us on Medicare would be hit really hard financially if diabetes drugs such as metformin were to made available over the counter. I’m not only taking metformin, but also glimeperide (Amaryl.) I already take a hit on insulin, which my Part D doesn’t cover at all – nor does Medicare. If oral diabetes medications are made available over the counter, I would have to stop most of my diabetes treatment. There needs to be some alternative way for those without any prescription coverage to get their meds. Chances are they wouldn’t be able to afford them over the counter either!

  • Dave Sweet

    I like the idea of getting diabetic drugs including 2.5 mg Lisinopril without prescription. Probably doctors wouldn’t initially prescribe anything OTC.

    Toni, I pay $4 for 30 days of Metformin at Krogers as it’s generic. Most pharmacies have a long list of $4 generics.

  • Kenneth Bush

    The issue is not cost. Many drugs, such as Glipizide, metformin, and others are available from large chain stores, like K-Mart for $10 or $15 for a 90-day supply, up to 180 pills each. Even though omeprazole is available over-the-counter, it still is covered by many prescription drug plans if purchased with a prescription.

    The issue is the danger that self-medication can be. Taking a large dose of Allegra might not cause serious side effects, but a too-large dose of many diabetes drugs might cause the effects of low blood sugar, which, if not monitored,can be life-threatening. Having a physician and pharmacist involved in the purchase adds additional layers of review of the suitability of the drugs and their doses. That will be lost if drugs are available O-T-C.

  • Gloria Catalanotto

    I do think a patient should see his physician for a diagnosis and have that physician perscribe the proper medication. Once the physician is assured the medication is working as it should, then and only then would a patient be able to get medications from the pharmacy over the counter. Availability should have a limit of 1 year. The law should require a yearly check up with the physician to ensure all is well. Since so many other problems can occur with diabetes, I think a physician must be kept in the loop.

  • Una Ryan

    Good idea IF you can depend on everything being dependable, the company and the drug and how it is handled before sale and for that matter after.

  • jim snell

    To be fair, as a type 2, I find my pharmacist, doctor, my own research and care watching and monitoring the drugs as a whole team are required to manage this stuff. I would not rely on my Dr. Say so on renewals totally.

    Just check into effigy times on pills and that is a whopper of a subject and searching on web can be great treat and then start asking questions of all responsible parties to get that correct data.

    I even had to call saftey officer’s at well known drug companies to verify what is prescribing procedures on said drug and how does one get 12/24 hour coverage and the answer – one a day does not count nor taking bigger dose once a day is also most curious.

    So while I trust my Doctor implicitly, I make sure I check into pills I take myself and watch refills like a hawk and watch when new pills get inserted in refill and I keep spares of prior working pill batch just to check if any oddities crop up in new refill. Been there – done that.

    This is why I believe we can go OTC on those drugs with good history and wide utilization without comprimising safety. On Dangerous drugs, you bet, you need your Doctor – Safety Officer on job checking and reviewing prescription renewals/requests etc.

  • Pauline

    I wouldn’t mind getting my metformin over the counter. My insurance sucks and i might loose my house because i have to pay for a 3 month script for my Humolog and NPH. If i could get some over the counter with my dr’s blessing it would save me alot.

  • Jame

    In response to Charles, on March 21, Around 3 pm. I am a diabetic and I am totally and completely AGAINST this idea of the FDA releasing diabetes meds for OTC. Here’s why. Since January I got lazy about checking my sugars and didn’t eat as well as I could have. Well, to make a long story short, without my Dr’s appt, that I keep regularly I would have died at the beginning of this month. From his office i was sent to the ER, I had diabetic Ketoacidosis. I spent 5 days in the ICU, with a insulin drip. I believe that had I not been under supervision, I very well might have died. So, to me as a diabetic, I say no way, to FDA!!

  • Oliver Burger

    I agree with some that people would self medicate…however,there are a lot of doctors just like mine out there that demand that you see them befor they will issue another prescription for the same meds-that work-that you have been taking for 6 years. My numbers(blood work) have been the same or better all the time.I have had hep-c and he watches my liver numbers. They are high…but…I have found a medicine on-line that does not require a prescrip and works. My numbers have steadily decreased over the last 6 years. He looks at these numbers that are always high(yet he never looks at the last numbers that were higher)and does not see that they are doing better on each test. My health insurance has gone from 6,420 per year to 16,420 per year. Folks like me need help around unaffordable insurance. The only way is to stop the silliness of regulkar unneccessary(sp?) tests that are not needed to begin with. My blood tests are always better than the last time…yet he still demands them. Obama has screwed the health community and so the health community screws the patients? Some how…I don’t think this is right.Get the insurance down so that we can afford these silly tests and you doctors can make your damn money and the rest of us can go back to work.

  • carol

    That is extremely risky. Medications have side effects and risks that need to discuss with your doctor beforehand. This may sound convenient, but all options need to be discussed before putting yourself at unnecessary risk. A bladder cancer patient for instance, would want to know about Actos and its increased risks.


  • Shane

    For those of you who say “no way – I need my doctor” – well go ahead and visit your doctor, but don’t prohibit the cheaper option for me. I don’t want to pay $100 every 3-4 months to go in and get my diabetes prescription renewed, and I’m without job currently and can’t afford it.

    Save me some cash. I can check my own blood sugar levels. Give me personal freedom here – and sometimes that includes the freedom to screw up. Hard decisions have to be made to suck cost out of the system for those that can’t afford it.

  • Kathy Felske

    This would definitely not be safe. Many people would not ever follow up with their doctor, and there could be serious consequences as a result of interactions between drugs.

  • Gary Owens

    This would be a great. I lost my healthcare a year ago, and I went to the VA for care. I have seen a Dr once in a year, and was given a long term script, enough to last for a year. As I have only 2 more years until Medicare, i’m not too bad off, but what if I didn’t quilify for VA care. I would be without. being able to purchase Metformin and others could be a lifesaver. Now can we do something about the cost of test strips…

  • Inge Boehm

    I am on medicare and with this the cost of my medications would rise. I have this experienced this in the past when certain medications were taken off the prescription necessary list.
    My doctor prescribes enough refills for a year. I go several times a year anyway for my lab-tests.
    Redondo Beach, July 9.2012

  • Judy Walker

    Great idea. How many people can’t afford the doctor, don’t have insurance, fall through the cracks with state and federal plans, and really need the medication. The post about being dispensed and signed for is great – this would help so many many people – and people – does your doctor always listen to you? Sometimes you feel as though you are keeping them awake – I think a lot of people can think better themselves, inform themselves, and treat themselves – save the doctor for the serious illness, maybe they would have more time to spend with you.

  • Judy Walker

    To Gary Owens – Go to Wal Mart and get Relion meter, less than $10 and the strips are 100 for $36 as of this date.

  • john

    I think it is a good idea. But mostly for patients that have been diagnosed. And have a basic knowledge about there illness. I am a type 2 diabetic, and see a doctor just to get my Medicine and strips. I have no insurance. My doctor is quick with me and seems like he asks and says the same things and I pay the bill. I would be better off putting that money toward my Medicine and supplies.

  • Ed

    A very bad idea. One problem diabetics suffer with is fluctuating blood sugars. If a diabetic has blood sugars that run high than low, they are in danger of increasing or intensiving complications. A diabetic that consistently runs high or low blood sugars also runs the risk of the same problems. The ability to get prescription drugs over the counter, helps the diabetic hide their poor blood sugar control

  • Lucy P.

    Maybe not diabetic drugs but what about the supplies? I’m tired of having to get a script for test strips, lancets, etc. I should be able to stop by the pharmacy and pick them up when I need them. If the box of lancets is right by the counter, why do I need the pharmacist to walk around, grab it and place it in a bag. I thought about buying them online but without a script the price is close to retail. I can’t afford that.

  • Laura C

    Can’t you still buy insulin (Novolin R and NPH) by asking the pharmacist for it in the state of Florida? This used to be true but I don’t know if it still is?

  • william

    It is ridiculous to put obstacles in the way of people getting the drugs that are keeping them alive. Who are you fools to judge? I’m tired of spending thousands of dollars a year, just so I can get diabetes medication prescriptions. Your car is way more dangerous than metformin hcl. I’ve been taking two grams a day for eight years with zero problems. I wonder how many of you jerks, who want to tell me how to run my life are in medical professions, and can’t stand to see the gravy train threatened. Mind your own damn business. If you need to see a doctor, do so, but let me live my life the way I want.

  • jim snell

    Doctor need this excessive paper load removed and spend time helping patient directly.

    Unless drug is dangerous and has serious impacts – of coarse needs technical review.

    Other things could easily be OTC or supply a card for diagnosed diabetics to obtain drugs otc without all the extra fiddling around.

    I agree with article and reader fully. After 30 years as type 2.

    Whats more important – getting type 2 undercontrol and cutting excessive costs before it bankrupts us all or more important to have Russian style paperwork control on pills with iron fist waisting every ones time?

    • Lindsey McCane

      There are medications OTC more dangerous than metformin. You can overdose on Claritin, Tylenol, Advil, and more. Hell, you can make meth out of some. Metformin is just diabetic, take too much all you need to do is eat sugar and carbs

  • Dave Anible

    I,m a diabetic with no money, and no doctor,and that would sure help me!

  • boat

    medical care and lab work and unafordable health insurance and the high price of prescription meds is a way bigger killer than type 2 diabetes medication without a prescription.. the mark up in the drug stores are around 300% on some meds..
    I can afford the meds,I cannot afford the doctors visit or the $300.00 lab work bill just to get a 90 day supply of meds.. not everyone earns a mint a week.. I know I didn’t ask for the diabetes.. Im just waiting for Obamacare to go into effect.. I can’t stand the republican’s healthcare plan.. thats.. if you cannot afford healthcare… don’t get sick,if you do get sick, die quickly…as said by the republicans on national TV 4 years ago..a lot of seniors that live close to mexico have a bus that picks them up and takes them into mexico certain times of each month so they can buy their meds,otherwise they have to do without..not everyone was born with a silver spoon in their arse or has lost all their humanity and compassion,this country needs to understand that NOT everyone has the option,timing or luck to be finachialy well off or be able to be on a group policy at work where consumers of the companies product or service pays for your healthcare which is always figured into the overhead then products or service is priced for consumers to buy, thats why I never want to hear anyone say,why should I pay for someones healthcare,well,those with group policys are paid for by the consumer,I don’t like it,I could be buying the product or service cheaper if I wasn’t paying for the group policys..

    • infocyde

      How’s that wait for Obamacare working for you? Everything cheaper? What are you going to do with that $2500 dollars in savings per family that Obama promised you?

    • Lindsey McCane

      Obamacare……actually costs people way more because companies have raised their prices and the insurance companies themselves have raised the premiums because there is no competition.
      Now that I have health insurance, I pay $130 a month out of my pocket. That’s $130 I could be paying towards any medical visits which for me is $50 and medical needs which would end up being cheaper than $130. Also, I don’t go to the doctor every month so it actually really adds up.

  • Cat

    OMG!!! I think it would be fantastic. Why do we have to pay for a doctors visit when you already know what you have and what you need. As stated in the article it would free up doctors to deal with patients that really need their time. I dont have the luxury of health insurance so I think this would be a wonderful thing!!!

    • Lindsey McCane

      Why would the doctor care? That appointment is an extra $150 in their pocket.

  • jim snell

    Cat: Ahmen to your comments.

    This is the ole phone company fight that only they sell, install, rent telephones shoved into the drug arena.

    After massive fight and lawsuits – here we are today with a freedom of choices and costs.

    Do i want to go back – hell no.

    best wishes and good luck with your health.

  • majid

    I am diabetic for 15 yrs. After a year doc giving me the same pills and refills for just annual visit. After few years still the same medication with 6 months now 3 months refills. I shopped around for docs with longer refills but 3 months has become everywhere. Even free clinics raised visit to $50 for me unemployed no income for 3 yrs. Docs just ask annual A1C & lipid test and just write refill it means to me only reason is charging can’t argue anything else.



  • Katie Williams

    I have type 2 diabetes, I don’t have insurance, and my prescription ran out a week ago. I can’t get it refilled, not because of the cost of the medication, but because of the cost to get the prescription. It will cost me $150 for the Doctor visit to be given a prescription to go to a lab for blood work which will cost another $175 and I’ll have to wait two weeks to go see the DR again and be charged an additional $150 for them to read the results of the blood work and provide the prescription. The prescription is $4 at my local pharmacy.

    While I support making safe medications easily available and affordable, with Diabetes, it’s not the cost of the medication that is the problem. It’s the $475, 3 visits and two and half weeks (depending on availablity) it takes to get the prescription.

    I’m sure I’m not the only person having to choose between rent or food and medication, especially in this economy. The Doctors, Insurance companies and Drug companies will shake their fingers at me for going without the medication, but they’ve built too costly a process for many to maintain.

    I would challenge all the bright minds making money in the medical industry to work towards solutions that address these issues on a larger scale. But a small step such as cheaper meds is better than standing still.

    Kind regards,

  • Tony

    There are hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in our country now having to choose between rent or food and medication,especially in this economy as one correspondent earlier quote.I have type 2 Diabetes and have been on the brink of running out of my medication more than once times and have been forced wait till the last bit of medication was finished, before I was able to pay the Dr. fee and receive a repeat prescription. I even had to stretched my medication on one occasion which meant I started feeling the dying effects of not taken a full dosage of my medication just because I did not have the money to pay the doctors fee. So all these individuals that are advocating full doctors supervision or permission simply have no idea of what it means to not having the money to pay a doctor to write out the prescription, nor how fatal this can be for the less fortunate in our society So if you have your health insurance or can always the afford your doctors fee, whilst I respect your views, I urge you to be mindful of those who may quite frankly die because they can’t afford the doctor’s fee. Regarding the debate,I hope intelligence will prevail over ignorance in this matter, thereby allowing the the government to be enlightened, allowing repeat drugs for Diabetes to be purchased over the counter. This measure will actually save lives of many less fortunate people who can’t always afford health insurance or the doctor’s fee.

  • Jim

    As a responsible Type-1 diabetic for over 50-years, I feel that being able to obtain Insulin via OTC would be wonderful. I have been burdened by the past many years by diabetics who do not, or will not take care of themselves. If you need your “Mom” to continually be after you to take care of your condition (via Government mandate), there are plenty of Socialist governments in Countries where you may chose to live if you desire the oversight of Big-brother. I get my A1c’s checked, I get my retinal exams, I adjust my dosage as it’s called for or when required by my activities.
    Many type-2’s do not take care of themselves now, even with insulin being prescribed by a doctor and with Doctor visits forced on them, so how would making insulin prescription-only improve what is an un-improvable situation mainly people’s self-responsibility?
    I am all for OTC insulin after an initial prescription.

  • drew

    I am diabetic and I think it is a perfect idea, I have had the same idea for a long time I don’t need to see a doctor just to get the insulin I need to live. the funny thing is if I do not see my doctor for the latest sales pitch on new Bits, they will cut off my refill supply of insulin which does not seem like a good plan if you are trying to help these people. not sentencing them to death for is using you and your sales pitch, especially when not much is still known hey about Diabetus. just my opinion but thats how I feel. I do not agree with the post above the 50 year old type 1 diabetic,hi would not say it is about better health care of the individual it is a bout not being an illegal drug or being sold on the streets. it is well documented you are diabetic and doctors still say there is a lot unknown about it, the doctor visits in my opinion are only good when you are diagnosed and pointless thereafter.

  • drew

    I am diabetic and I think it is a perfect idea, I have had the same idea for a long time I don’t need to see a doctor just to get the insulin I need to live. the funny thing is if I do not see my doctor for the latest sales pitch on new Bits, they will cut off my refill supply of insulin which does not seem like a good plan if you are trying to help these people. not sentencing them to death for is using you and your sales pitch, especially when not much is still known hey about Diabetus. just my opinion but thats how I feel. I do not agree with the post above the 50 year old type 1 diabetic,hi would not say it is about better health care of the individual it is a bout not being an illegal drug or being sold on the streets. it is well documented you are diabetic and doctors still say there is a lot unknown about it, the doctor visits in my opinion are only good when you are diagnosed and pointless thereafter.and it is stupid to Blame people who have more complications or like you said do not take better care of himself that would not solve anything if they were to disappear all of a sudden. you would not get your prescriptions more easily and have less of a hassle if that is really what you think I feel sad for you. and sorry for my typing in the spelling errors I was doing this on my phone.

  • Tamie

    I believe that if you are going to give advice or make a statement it should be accurate, based on wisdom,and experience. Here is what I know to be true…Doctors charge at least $100 dollars a month for diabetics to go to their office and get no diabetes related treatment whatsoever. Then the doctor takes your money and gives you a prescription to get you through another month of medications. When your meds run out you go to the doctor again and they weigh you, take your blood pressure and ask you what your numbers are and this happens month after month. My boyfriend is a diabetic whose numbers have been out of control because his doctor retired and he can’t afford the new doctors prices. That is $1200 a year in the doctors pocket for something a person can do all on their own if the FDA allows diabetic medications to be purchased over the counter. What people fail to realize is that every day that a person goes untreated, for out of control diabetes, damage is occurring. Then we have people who need medicaid or medical because they need kidney dialysis because their numbers were out of control for so long that the body was damaged irreparably. So….YES YES…YES…NO MORE PRESCRIPTIONS FOR DIABETICS PLEASE….I BEG OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Doris Foley

    Well I have been seeing doctors all of my life (I am 48) and most if not all of pharmacist know more about drugs and the effects than doctors do, Yes it is sad. But some people would not benefit from not seeing a doctor, while others would, it all depends on where their A1c level is. Me on the other hand am tired of taking prescription drugs for diabetes. The side effects is worse than than having diabetes. That is why I am going the natural way and going on supplements called xoomaworld, I feel better and I am slowly taking myself off of all my shots and meds, and of course eating right. No this is not for everyone to do but it is for me. And as far as the FDA concerns, I don’t think they know their butts from their heads anyways, so it may benefit you and it may not. Just make sure you really dig into all of the side effects of ANY drug, whether it is over the counter or prescription and if you can’t get your pharmacist to do so.

  • Dave

    After having read the attached article and comments by other readers, I would like to add my two cents, as it were: The bulk of the comments assumes that diabetics (of which I am one) are irresponsible when it comes to medicating themselves. This is an unsubstantiated assumption–diabetics medicate themselves everyday of their lives, with or without prescriptions. We have glucometers that help track our blood sugar levels and we respond accordingly. Type 2 diabetes is controllable with proper diet and exercise. Medication helps facilitate these goals by aiding in the pancreatic function. Do I need to see a doctor to do this? Yes, an occasional check-up helps us to see our long-term goals and what we need to achieve them. However, if certain diabetic meds were available OTC it would be much easier for diabetics to administer their meds and thus not have to get the doctor’s OK prior to medicating themselves.
    I am, at this time, awaiting a doctor visit prior to having my meds renewed–that visit is three weeks away and he refuses to grant refills without first seeing me. So, I have to spend three weeks without meds while I await the DR visit. If there were OTC diabetic meds available, I could continue some form of medication while waiting to see my DR.
    Diabetics are intelligent people who are very aware of their medical condition–more than the average citizen. We know how to manage our food consumption so that our carbs are not out of control. Assuming that diabetics would abuse OTC meds is equal to assuming that people with allergies would over medicate. It’s possible but not probable.

    • Sweetpence

      Wow Dave,
      I totally agree with you.
      This is exactly what I go through. I go several weeks or even a couple of months without my meds because I don’t have the money to pay for the doctor’s visit and when I do go to the doctor it is all routine and same scrips…nothing different. Of course, I still need to see the doctor several times a year for urine test but other than that, everything else stays the same. My meds record at the pharmacy clearly tells you I have been on these meds for 8 years because I am clearly a diabetic. Why shouldn’t I be able to get my insulin otc? I went to get some insulin (1 vial) the cost was $285…..outrageuos especially when Relion sells a vial for $24.88 (Novolin NPH, R & 70/30) but many doctors refuse to change you over to the Novolin. I’ve done the research and basically the big difference is the amount of time it takes to peak. So where I now take 40u in the evening with Novolin I would have to take 20u in the morning and 20u in the evening and check my blood sugar levels more often. I don’t find this to be a hardship. The hardship is paying out the big bucks, which I can’t do and so I often go without. I have to poke myself with a syringe everyday for the rest of my life anyway so, whats the big deal doing it one more time a day? And that there in MY 2 cents worth.

  • bo

    If you have no insurance how do you get diabete medication when you can’t find a job to be able to get insurance Yea there are things to be worked out to make this possible like keeping in the system when it was last refilled so that you have to wait till the medicine is supposed to be gone if your taking it right but it is a good idea once those things are worked out

  • Diabetic 2

    If you’re diagnosed with type 2, the cost of going to Dr just to get refil is crazy. Yes, I think I should be able to refil w/o my Dr visit which always is for same Metformin and dosage

  • Jim

    Bad idea. Computers are garbage in, garbage out. Physician supervision needed.

  • Juan Fuerte

    Great idea most of us that have diabetes 2 know how to control our sugar leves all we need is the tools that includes our pills and we cant get them without going trough the hospital which results we already know

  • Roz

    The dr. just cut my metformin dose in half, she says medicare made the decision, also cut test strips from 6x to 2x a day……..Are they trying to kill us all off????

  • absolutely we should be able to purchase these medications over the counter like people in other countries do.

  • Majun3

    I’m thinking about taking metformin as a nutritional supplement since it may offer many potential benefits like reducing cancer risk and generally promoting longer health. Over the counter availability would help me do that. I can add that I also have suffered from high blood sugar and I already know that my dad and relatives from his side of the family have suffered from type II diabetes. I have scars on my ankle from chronic sores linked to high blood sugar. Also, I have a hard time getting to a doctor.

    • Lindsey McCane

      It also works for regulating insulin levels and helping to losing weight for women with PCOS which is my issue.

  • Diana

    I definitely think diabetes meds should be obtainable with only an initial prescription. If I’m testing I can tell if meds are working and if I need my MDs intervention. I have so much trouble getting a new prescription on phone from my MDs office. Then my insurance would not pay if it’s not a three month supply. It basically cost the same without the insurance. All I need is access to my medications sometimes I go without rather than go through all the drama. Most of us with diabetes understand what’s right from wrong and can manage if we have access to our medication. Please help us.

  • Annette

    Definitely, please, I wish they would make them over the counter.

  • Mark Brzezinski

    Hope it helps to someone. Well, I bought diabetes drugs online (without prescription).

  • Lindsey McCane

    Absolutely! You already know what you need so why do we have to do the doctor’s visit every single time? An annual check-up is all you need. Not a visit everytime you need a refill….

  • Lindsey McCane

    Seems like the doctor’s don’t care that we aren’t rolling in money as long as they are….
    Even with the health insurance I’m now required to have, I’m actually even less financially able to go to the doctor for any issues I may have. Aside from my maternal grandmother, every single person in my family has diabetes…even my 17 year old sister. It’s a guarantee I’ll get it soon.

  • Bowman2

    Great idea. I walked away from dealing with the medical industry probably 15 years ago when my doc insisted on an office visit to refill my allergy meds even though I had just been there for the flu a few weeks before. I told them I had no intention of buying the doc a new set of golf clubs every month or two, stopped the doctors visits and the meds altogether. It has been the healthiest time of my life. But, after discovering I had diabetes and managing it with diet alone for several years I’ve had to again become a patient when it became unmanageable by diet alone. I want only one thing from the doc, to help me avoid dying from diabetes. I don’t want other testing, I don’t want other prescriptions, I don’t want to know the condition of my prostate, I don’t want anything from him besides keeping my sugar in check. However, I fear he will refuse to refill my metformin if I refuse to let him make more money off me. I go back to him tomorrow. I won’t be surprised if I have to go back to managing it with carb control alone after the visit. What a load of crap.

    • indyconservative

      So, two years later how’s it going with your doc? I recommend the book Brightspots and Landmines. It’s a gold mine for controlling diabetes. For example, the author swears by a low-carb diet to keep glucose stable.

  • Just Sayin’

    Absolutely. Financially, it’s difficult to see the doctor and get a perscription when you need to. Also, GOOD medication should ALWAYS have a generic brand as well. Pharmacutical companies are making a mass profit on good medicine that can adequately help Type 1 diabetes patients live a healthier life. Also, Insurance companies are not allowing over the counter medicine (such as N and R insulin for type 1 diabetics) to count toward deductibles. That is absolutely not fair. In addition, corporations where people work frequently change insurance companies or types of coverage making it difficult for people with diseases such as diabetes to adequately manage their condition without going broke. A friend of mine has type 2 diabetes and my daughter has type 1 diabetes. They are both going through unspeakable hardships due to their health and diabetes.

  • I would love to have a slip that shows my type 1 diabetes antibody and be able to use my insurance without a doctor. It’s not like my diabetes will go away.

  • rislouis1

    yes I would buy them..i needed to refill my pill for my type 2 ..I went to my
    doctor to this well thank God I didn’t need to see him for the past 13 months
    they told me I had to make an app to see him the best they could do was
    a week before I could see him..i ask see if he would fill this now and
    I can see him later they wouldn’t do it ..so I would y over the counter..

  • MikeofAges

    What you are thinking of is diabetes medicine, which is not available over the counter. In my experience, what lowers A1C is the same thing which lower blood glucose in the short run, and blood glucose can be tested at home. The easy thing that can be done is lose weight, which can be accomplished by eating smaller meals and no snacking between meals. This is something which is hard to get used to, but once it becomes a habit, it is easy to maintain. If someoen grabs a fast food snack on the way home, sorry, that’s dinner and you’re done for the day.

    I cut down on salt for the sake of blood pressur and my blood glucose readings may have gone down too. But this experience is what called anecdotal, meaning one person’s story. If your husband has Type ! diabetes, that requires more management in consultation with a physician, but I imagine the same principles apply.