GlaxoSmithKline, Alcon switch 3 meds to OTC in play for big volume

PILLS MONEY cost opioid
The three medications were approved as part of the FDA's prescription-to-OTC program. (Pixabay)

Drugmakers usually target two things: pricing and volume, hopefully both at the same time. But when prices go down, volume's the thing, and GSK and Alcon have pulled off prescription-to-OTC switches in hopes of giving aging brands a boost.

GlaxoSmithKline's Voltaren Arthritis Pain gel and two Alcon eye drops, Pataday and Patanol, will now be sold over the counter after the FDA approved switching the drugs from prescription-only status on Friday. 

Moving into OTC sales will give the three drugs greater consumer access at a likely much lower price point, the agency said in a release.

Survey

Veeva 2020 Unified Clinical Operations Survey

We believe you have the knowledge and expertise to make this year's Veeva 2020 Clinical Operations Report even more robust and insightful than the last. Please take a moment to share your opinion in this 10-minute survey. All qualified respondents will be entered to win a $500 Amazon gift card.

To pass muster for the switch, both GSK and Alcon were required to provide data showing that consumers could dose themselves safety and effectively, the FDA said. The drugmakers were also required to show that patients can understand how to use the drug without a healthcare professional's supervision. 

Voltaren gel notched its first FDA approval in 2007 to treat osteoarthritis joint pain responsive to topical treatment. The two Alcon medications, Pataday Twice Daily Relief and Pataday Once Daily Relief, were approved in 1996 and 2004, respectively. The twice-daily formulation was approved under the name Patanol to treat the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.

RELATED: FiercePharmaPolitics—After Jan. hikes, pricing remains the industry's top concern in 2020: GlobalData

Suggested Articles

Amid Amgen's pricing war with Sanofi and Regeneron's Praluent, PCSK9 cholesterol fighter Repatha has shown a clinical benefit for HIV patients.

A month after the FDA approved it, Esperion's Nexletol showed it can lower cholesterol regardless of statin and ezitimibe treatment.

AstraZeneca's Farxiga can help prevent worsening or death in heart failure patients regardless of other therapies received, according to new data.