Science of the Switch

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We’re all hideous when we sneeze. That's why we believe everyone should have access to fast-acting solutions that help treat symptoms of super common ailments, like allergies. Astepro is the latest in a long history of innovative over-the-counter products that started out as prescription medicine.

In fact, many of the best-known self-care products you might already have in your home started out as a prescription medicine. See how we work to expand access by converting effective prescription medications into over-the-counter options. It's one way we're using science and innovation to empower people to take more control of their personal health.


For some medicines, it happens with teams of scientists in labs around the world applying expertise and medical insights to develop novel new products. For others it is done through collaboration with outstanding partners that bring out the best in each other.


Still others are developed as prescription medications, but after many years of safe, effective use they can be switched to over-the-counter medicines. In fact, more than half of Bayer products in the U.S. started out as prescription medication. 

The path of a switch is still deeply rooted in the Principles of Science-Led Self-Care, from development to continued innovation. And it can have great benefits for consumers and society. 



Science and Safety


In the U.S. alone, where more than ¾ of switches originate, there are approximately 12,000 prescription medicines on the market. But not all of these have the potential to be a switch. 


While all prescription products have been shown to be safe and effective under the guidance of a healthcare professional, becoming a switch requires an extra level of safety considerations since so consumers can safely use the product on their own.


Since people will be using the medicine without supervision of a medical profession, to become an OTC product, it has to be shown that people can understand the label, physically use the product effectively, and that they are able to self-select usage of the product based on their own personal health history. Ensuring this level of safety requires numerous studies, including at-home clinical trials to test real world use for new OTC categories. 


The innovation doesn’t stop there, of course. Scientists continue to work on these products to make them more effective, easier to use, or more sustainable to deliver more benefits to consumers. 

Switches have been credited with creating many common OTC categories: 

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Why Switch? 


Pain and discomfort from illness affects everyone. But sometimes these problems may not be enough to warrant a trip to the doctor’s office. In other cases, someone might not have access a doctor or maybe they are embarrassed to seek help. 


The benefits of a switch are very much in line with the importance of investing in self-care overall. With an aging global population, strained health systems, and people wanting to take more control over their own personal health there is an increasing need for self-care products. 


Switch products fill an important need by taking medicines that have been effectively used for many years and making them more widely available to people who need relief and improved health.





Take seasonal allergy sufferers, for example. Like clockwork every year, they know what symptoms they will face and how their quality of life will be affected. By switching OTC products like Claritin or Astepro from being required by prescription, relief is just a trip to the store away.  


Regardless of what path new innovations take, the result is always aimed at making it easier to get the products you need to help with everyday health.