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March 2007

Topical Hydrocortisone From Prescription to Over-the-Counter Sale: A Past Controversy: A Cautionary Tale

Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(3):413-415. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.3.413

It has been 25 years since topical hydrocortisone was approved for over-the-counter (OTC) sale to the public and 40 years since the American Academy of Dermatology's first committee to evaluate the proposal rejected OTC hydrocortisone as being too risky and hazardous for the public. Whenever a regulatory issue related to dermatology is likely to have an impact on the public at large, the need for organized dermatology to adopt a position, the mechanisms of so doing, and the likelihood of the position being proven correct over time remain the same. With that in mind, we review an issue that generated considerable controversy in its time and on which, in hindsight, organized dermatology proved to be on the wrong side.

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