Prescription Products Don't Exist, But I Talk About Them Anyway

I use the phrase "prescription products" quite frequently. Technically, I'm misusing the phrase, but I prefer to think of it as a shorthand term of art. By "prescription products," I mean all of those products whose promotional labeling and advertising is subject to FDA regulation. That includes prescription drugs, biologics, vaccines, and restricted medical devices.

Of course, vaccines are not usually limited by prescription, and it doesn't make sense to speak about a prescription requirement for many restricted medical devices, but I find the smaller two-word phrase less cumbersome than the rather bulky "all of those products whose promotional labeling and advertising is subject to FDA regulation."

I prefer the slight fiction of creating my own term to the more inaccurate phrase of FDA-regulated products because that broader phrase includes, of course, over-the-counter drugs, homeopathic substances, nutritional supplements, tobacco, and even food and cosmetics; however, these other products are not subject to FDA regulation of their promotional efforts, except in so far as FDA requires that their promotional efforts cannot imply that the items are in fact prescription products.

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