Why Do I Need A Prescription Anyway?

Published December 8th, 2015 by USA Rx
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley

It’s hard to imagine a pharmacy without a prescription-only section, one where all the drugs are there for the asking (and the paying, of course) and all you need to do to get any pill or drug in the store is to ask for it.  Prescriptions are a fact of life for millions of Americans, and for those millions it means scheduling regular visits to the doctor, standing in line at the pharmacy, and having to abide by often restrictive limits on refills.  Nevertheless, the current system is only 60 years old, and before 1952 there was no such thing as a prescription drug.


That’s not to say that drugs went entirely unregulated before that point, of course.  By the 1950’s, the US government was regulating access to exceptionally dangerous drugs like morphine, heroin, and cocaine, and all drugs had to properly label their contents and actively provide what the label promised.  Still, that left plenty of room for abuse.  Even at that point there were plenty of drugs with powerful benefits but also powerfully dangerous side effects, and without any sort of regulation there were a lot of cases of improper use and abuse.


For instance, oxycodone is a less potent relative to morphine and heroin, but it’s still potent enough that it’s notorious for how often it’s abused. But starting 1939 and on into the 1960’s, you could buy it over the counter.  Even aspirin can cause harm to stomach linings and children, and it remains an OTC drug.


Because of these problems, the federal government rolled out the Durham-Humphrey Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  This amendment created a prescription category for drugs which were either too dangerous or too habit-forming to be safe to use without a doctor’s supervision.  And while the rules and restrictions surrounding prescription drugs may seem annoying at times, the prescription system has only become more important over time thanks to the explosion in drug varieties throughout the past half century.


Of course, one other problem with exotic new medications is the cost.  While the FDA and the government may regulate access, they don’t regulate prices, and oftentimes these prices are set unbelievably high.


Fortunately, programs like the USA Rx pharmacy discount card can help.  The USA Rx card is completely free to sign up for and to use, and all we need from you is a name and an email address so we can send you a personal card you can use right away.  If you want more information, our email is [email protected] and our toll-free phone number is 888-277-3911.

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