Sunscreen Rules: Too Much Intervention?


This is the time of the year when people take full advantage of the nice weather and get out into the sun. You can get a nice natural shot of vitamin D, something everyone needs. Or is this just a myth?

Pharmacists are here to answer these perplexing questions, make specific product recommendations, and generally guide their customers through the summer season. The goal is to keep their patients healthy and happy. Pharmacy Times is here to provide pharmacists with the latest research and important updates for skin and eye health, the theme of this issue. With roughly 30 million Americans using tanning salons annually, increased tanning—including artificially—has led to increased rates of skin cancer. See "Sunburn Protection: New Rules for Sunscreens" for up-to-date coverage and useful guidance for patients.

The news that the federal government has released new guidelines for sunscreen products may not surprise pharmacists, who know that the overexposure to the sun's rays is harmful and does cause cancer. As we report, "The FDA has identified and forbidden the use of misleading terms, such as 'waterproof,' 'sweatproof,' and 'sunblock,'" when it comes to sunscreen products. Yet this may give the consumer something to think about.

Is this being intrusive? There is a place for regulations, and certainly, when it comes to protecting the public's health guidance is important. But is it the role of the government or should it be the role of the industry to provide it? Limited government intervention is an important principle to value—and it seems that there are situations where less is more. Is this one of them?

As health professionals who are called upon to provide answers for seasonal health questions, as well as overall health, pharmacists have weighed in on over-the-counter products for 17 years in our annual Pharmacists' OTC Recommendations survey. The results, coming in June, offer valuable help for the consumer as well, especially for summer months and seasonal recommendations.

For the second year, Pharmacy Times has collaborated with U.S. News & World Report to offer this extremely useful survey and related patient guides and articles in ways that can be easily accessed—online and via an iPad and iPhone app.

This is our own entrepreneurial spirit at work, which takes a long-standing service for pharmacists and makes it new and relevant for a wider audience. Please watch for the launch of this year's OTC Guide next month.

Thank you for reading!

Mike Hennessy

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer

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