The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a final rule designed to help ensure that hand sanitizers available over-the-counter (OTC) are safe and effective for those who rely on them. The rule establishes that certain active ingredients are not allowed to be used in OTC hand sanitizers, formally known as topical consumer antiseptic rub products, which are intended for use without water, that are marketed under the FDA’s OTC Drug Review. The final rule also seeks to ensure that the agency’s safety and effectiveness evaluations and determinations for consumer antiseptic rub active ingredients are consistent, up-to-date and appropriately reflect current scientific knowledge and increasing use patterns.
“Our action today aims to help provide consumers with confidence that the over-the-counter hand sanitizers they’re using are safe and effective when they don’t have access to water to wash with soap,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “In today’s final regulation we finalized the FDA’s previous determination that 28 active ingredients, including triclosan and benzethonium chloride, are not eligible for evaluation under the FDA’s OTC Drug Review for use in consumer antiseptic rubs. We’ve also reaffirmed our need for more data on three other active ingredients, including ethyl alcohol, which is the most commonly used ingredient in hand sanitizers, to help the agency ensure that these products are safe and effective for regular use by consumers. We believe industry has made good progress toward providing data and we will continue to provide updates to the public about the progress of collecting this data.”
Consumer antiseptic hand sanitizers provide a convenient alternative when hand washing with plain soap and water is unavailable. Millions of Americans use antiseptic rubs daily, sometimes multiple times a day, to help reduce bacteria on their hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that washing hands with plain soap and running water is one of the most important steps consumers can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading infections to others. If soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
As part of the June 30, 2016 proposed rule on consumer antiseptic rubs, the FDA requested additional scientific data to support the safety and effectiveness of active ingredients used in OTC consumer antiseptic rubs…