Prostate drug sold without prescription in UK
London, March 31, 2010
A drug to treat the urinary symptoms of prostate enlargement, previously available only on prescription, is to be sold over the counter in British pharmacies to men aged 45 to 75 years from Wednesday.
The move is the latest example of Britain taking a lead in switching medicines off prescription in a drive to promote self care.
Flomax Relief, or tamsulosin hydrochloride, for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), will cost 16.99 pounds ($25.54) for a pack of 28 capsules lasting four weeks, maker Boehringer Ingelheim of Germany said.
It is the first time the medicine has been made available without prescription anywhere in the world. The launch also represents a first in bringing a product for men's health into the over-the-counter (OTC) arena, although Pfizer has been exploring a non-prescription version of its popular impotence drug Viagra.
The US drugmaker piloted the sale of Viagra in selected pharmacies in the north of England in 2007, but was knocked back in 2008 in its attempt to get European approval for Viagra without prescription. Pfizer said at the time it still believed the drug met the guidelines for OTC status. - Reuters