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Half Prescription

A class of drugs that require a simple lay person's license
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Drugs in the United States are classified as "prescription only" or "over the counter." Proposed is a third category.

Health officials worry that the release of antibiotics would lead to pandemics of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that not every case of the sniffles warrants a mouthful of pills. I do find it annoying that I have to work around a dentist's schedule to get more-or-less emergency dental care just to be prescribed antibiotics for a tooth abscess while planning or awaiting a more complete solution to the problem.

I had to get licensed to drive and to fish. My original profession of mechanical engineering was regulated under licensing rules, and I understand the problem of public safety when bridges fall, cars crash, and planes fall out of the sky. Licensing outside of medicine, however, acknowledges various levels of licensure, differentiating amateurs from professionals. My Florida Class E Driver License forbids me from driving a fuel tanker. My recreational fishing license isn't enough for me to show up at the dock with a boat full of fish for sale. I believe the field of medicine should have a semi-professional, semi-amateur license for the equivalent of a private school clinic lady, a girl scout volunteer, etc.

kevinthenerd, Nov 21 2012

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       I find that the problem isn't that medicine is all that difficult to understand, but people begin to act under their own authority fuelled by the esteem of others and become grand poobahs.
rcarty, Nov 22 2012
  

       Isn't this the profession of 'pharmacist'? In the UK, there are medical products you can buy from a supermarket, medical products you have to get a doctor' prescription for, and then there are medical products you can buy from a pharmacy at the discretion of the pharmacist and only after the pharamcist has explained the use of the product.
hippo, Nov 22 2012
  

       No, only a doctor can prescribe a med that is not over the counter in the US, hippo. So I understand the nerds complaint and wish there was a third option. But as long as the drug companies own us, that will never happen.
blissmiss, Nov 22 2012
  

       However, apparently some states at least have a rather loose definition of 'doctor'.   

       From what I've heard.
Loris, Nov 22 2012
  

       Yes, a PA, and some nurses with very advanced degrees can prescribe, but only under a doctors eye.
blissmiss, Nov 22 2012
  

       I was thinking of an article I read about California's "pot docs", with the same prescription for all ailments.
Presumably they do have appropriate accreditation, but from the description in the article... Well, charitably one might claim that the interaction described was just a suitable "bedside manner" affected for their patients.
Loris, Nov 22 2012
  

       Oh, I forgot about them. Your'e right. There are some other kinds of doctors. In that state at least.
blissmiss, Nov 22 2012
  

       Because they go through medical school just like all doctors do, and then end up specializing in their chosen field. They all go through the same stuff. Dermatologist, etc. Medical school is medical school.
blissmiss, Nov 22 2012
  

       Ethics and/or fear of litigation and/or professional regulation and/or lack of opportunity and/or lack of market for dental heart surgery. Plus, in my jurisdiction at least, dentists are not medically qualified. Aside from the foregoing though, there's nothing stopping them.
calum, Nov 22 2012
  

       //If that's the case, what's to stop a dentist from performing open-heart surgery?//   

       Is a dentist an MD? No? You answered your own question. They cannot perform surgery or give medical advice, because they're not doctors. As for podiatrists, they're a weird case, because they /are/ considered doctors, but receive different training and degrees from other specialties, and are only licensed to practice podiatric medicine. The same thing with veterinarians, for example —they are trained and licensed as doctors, but are only allowed to treat animals.   

       On the other hand, physicians—this means doctors with an MD or a DO—can practice any sort of medicine they choose. Yes, this means that a cardiologist can legally perform brain surgery, or a pediatrician can legally perform an appendectomy. In practice, this isn't a huge problem, because you'd have to be crazy to do something way out of your field, and malpractice insurance pretty much governs what you can and can't do.   

       As for psychiatrists making statements about parts of the body other than the brain, I don't really see the problem. Psychiatrists go through the same medical training and residency requirements as any other doctor, and in fact need to know quite a bit about parts of he body besides just the brain in order to do their jobs properly. The brain governs the whole body after all, and many psychiatric disorders (and drugs) have systemic effects. I would expect that any competent psychiatrist would be at least aware of the potential dangers of uncontrolled pica.   

       // I always thought it was illegal for medical practitioners to give medical advice on a subject that is outside their field of expertise. Am I wrong in thinking that?//   

       In a word, yes.   

       //No, only a doctor can prescribe a med that is not over the counter in the US//   

       Strictly speaking, there are a few drugs that are in a grey area: they are considered over-the-counter, but can only be purchased from a pharmacist, who can refuse to sell them under certain circumstances. Pseudoephedrine is one (this is mainly to combat meth production, though); emergency contraception (i.e., the “morning after pill”) is another. But this is a very limited class of drugs, and generally does not include the sort of drugs like antibiotics and such that this idea is suggesting. I think it has less to do with pharmaceutical companies and more to do with this country's puritanical fear of “drug abuse”, though.
ytk, Nov 23 2012
  

       Not that it stops some of them.   

       //        The same thing with veterinarians, for example — they are trained and licensed as doctors, but are only allowed to treat animals.    //   

       That is correct. Physicians are allowed to treat humans-- but ONLY humans. Veterinarians are not allowed to treat humans, but instead must be familiar with the physiology of a panopoly of various species, many of which are more complicated than humans in some ways (dogs, for instance, have over two dozen blood types). Almost all physicians specialize in either medicine or surgery, whereas the majority of veterinarians must be well-versed in both. My mother, an MD, has frequently pointed out that in many ways DVMs have a much harder job.
Alterother, Nov 23 2012
  

       To be clear, I was not attempting to denigrate or belittle veterinarians in any way—I agree with you completely that in many ways it is a more difficult profession than practicing human medicine. I was only pointing out a type of practitioner that is limited by law to a narrow and specific type of medicine, as opposed to a physician who is trained for and may practice in any field he or she so desires (as long as it's on humans, anyway.)
ytk, Nov 23 2012
  

       I know that, I just like to bang my gong sometimes. Or in this case that of my family. I should have made it more clear that I took no offense.
Alterother, Nov 23 2012
  

       //I know that, I just like to bang my gong sometimes. Or in this case that of my family.//   

       Whoa, is that legal in Maine now?
ytk, Nov 23 2012
  

       "legal schmeegal". I rest my case Your Honour.
AusCan531, Nov 23 2012
  

       You might be surprised at what is legal in Maine.
Alterother, Nov 23 2012
  
      
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