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Restriction of Non-Prescription Drugs

Walter Singer, PhD
JAMA. 1965;191(6):505. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080060079036.
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To the Editor:—  In your commentary on analgesic abuse and the kidney (JAMA190:238 [Oct 19] 1964) you point to the incomplete and misleading nature of the warning now required by Food and Drug Administration regulation to appear on all packages of phenacetin-containing drugs for over-the-counter use. You also indicate the dangers of aspirin abuse and our lack of knowledge about acetaminophen hazard. You question the wisdom of any label warning directed against abuse, with special reference to ineffectiveness for people whose psychological makeup leads them to excesses. I agree with you that it is not possible by label warning alone to protect the public against hazards of self-medication with these or many other drugs. Unfortunately, such drugs are widely available. Recently the American Pharmaceutical Association has asked for establishment of a federal classification of non-prescription drugs which can be obtained only from pharmacists. Phenacetin-containing drugs would undoubtedly be


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