CVS is removing cold medicines from its shelves that contain a decongestant that a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel has determined to be ineffective.
This decision by CVS is voluntary, as the FDA’s findings were made by an advisory panel and are not legally binding.
The pharmacy chain will be removing oral medicines that contain phenylephrine as the sole active ingredient, according to a spokesperson from CVS.
In contrast, competitor Walgreens is waiting for further guidance from the FDA before making a decision on products containing phenylephrine.
The FDA panel found that while phenylephrine products are safe, they do not relieve congestion from colds and other ailments.
The FDA has not recalled drugs containing phenylephrine, but the panel’s findings may lead to the removal of phenylephrine from the list of approved ingredients.
If the FDA determines that phenylephrine does not work, products containing it would no longer be legal for sale in the U.S.
Industry groups disagree with the panel’s findings, citing previous clinical trials and regulatory determinations that support the effectiveness of phenylephrine as a decongestant.