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What are Therapeutic Goods?

By Angela Crout-Mitchell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Therapeutic goods is a term that refers to any product intended to be used for the medical benefit of any person or patient, and may include over-the-counter and prescription drugs, blood products, and all sorts of medical devices. This term also refers to dietary supplements and herbal medications available without a prescription. In most countries, therapeutic goods, are closely monitored for safety and effectiveness by national or regional governing bodies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. Many herbal and dietary supplements are not as stringently monitored, and it is up to the user to select a safe and useful product.

The most common types of therapeutic goods are over-the-counter and prescription drugs. In many cases, over-the-counter drugs are less potent versions of prescription versions, though some types of medications, such as narcotics, are not available over-the-counter. These medications can be used to treat a vast array of symptoms and diseases including pain, swelling, diabetes, and neurological disorders.

Blood and blood products are goods only found in hospitals or emergency vehicles are used for severe blood loss due to trauma or surgery, and can also be used as therapeutic therapies when the patient suffers from one of the many blood diseases. Whole blood, platelets, and plasma are harvested from donors for use in these situations, and all blood products undergo a strenuous process of testing and cleaning before it is injected into a patient. Synthetic blood products are used as well for certain types of therapies and procedures.

The category of medical devices is enormous and covers all sorts of therapeutic goods including wheelchairs, canes, modified shower stalls, toilet seats, artificial joints, pacemakers, and heart valves. Needles, syringes, and even medical tape and gauze meet the medical device criteria. A Medical device is any item that is used to treat or heal an illness or injury, or is used to promote a better quality of life for the patient.

Holistic treatments and products are considered therapeutic goods as well, and are also intended to improve health and treat a vast number of diseases and disorders. Dietary supplements, oils, and herbal topical applications, such as aloe vera gel and vitamin E treatments, are part of this category. Unlike prescription drugs and medical devices, these products are often not available from a doctor but can be found in health food stores, online, and from other reliable sources.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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