How a Watch Can Result in More OTC Switches

Remember when your phone was just a phone?  You flipped it open and made a call.  It also may have told you the time, but you primarily used it for talking to people.  Today you actually use it in ways so that you don’t have to talk to people.

Instead, you can use your phone to text, IM or send an email, but you don’t have to make a call.  You can check the weather, news, sports.  You can play music – even watch a movie. You can use it as a compass or to provide you with a map and directions.  It can be a fitness partner to track your progress – a dietary guide and oh – did you know that you can take pictures of yourself and post them to Facebook?  And you can even do things like take your blood pressure, look at X-Rays and there are numerous diabetes apps.  (If you are interested in more along the lines of medical apps, here is a dandy resource.)  In fact, your phone has evolved to the point where it is highly likely that one of the things you use it for the least is to have it be a phone.  It is now more a personal assistant.

Your watch has pretty much always been there to tell you the time (though now your phone does that).  Yesterday was the “pre-launch” of a new “smartwatch” in an ever expanding line to make news.  The watch comes with a built in heart monitor and will pair with other devices and will be a tool in managing fitness, among other things.

At some point, one simply has to assume that the smartwatch, along with the smartphone, will be able to help drugs that are sitting behind the prescription pad to make their way to the OTC counter.  For many drugs, such as statins, the inability to monitor one’s own liver functions and cholesterol levels has meant that attempt to switch statins from RX to OTC have failed.  (I attended most, if not all of the AdComms.)  But as our technology advances and becomes more accessible, and our watches and phones stop telling us the time and making our calls in favor of providing us with ever expanding amounts of information about ourselves, at some point it is likely that the watch and the phone will help us do things that we can only do with our doctors now – and hence opening up a bit the vault of drugs that can be switched from RX to OTC.  Just “watch”.

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