The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Wednesday that it is removing about 500 drugs prescribed for cold and allergy treatment. See here for the announcement, and here for the list of drugs.
Prescription medications have to be approved by the FDA after the agency evaluates their safety and effectiveness. Those requirements went into effect in 1962, according to a report by the Associated Press on msnbc.com, but many of the drugs being pulled today were already available before that, and somehow escaped additional review.
The FDA action is part of the Unapproved Drugs Initiative (UDI), begun in 2006, to address exactly such prescription medications that fall through the approval cracks. More on the UDI later.