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THE PHARMA REVIEW (MARCH - APRIL 2013)

Regulation of Non-Prescription Medicines - An Overview

Vandana K., Balamuralidhara V., ShilpiKhattri & T. M. Pramod Kumar

Introduction: In recent years there has been an increasing trend in self-medication with non-prescription drugs (OTC) which are available in pharmacies and in retail outlets. In parallel, more products have been de-regulated for purchase without a prescription. The de-regulation process has been championed by the pharmaceutical industry, the pharmacy profession and government health policy makers and is supported by the view that patients wish to have a greater role in their treatment choices. Self-medication also has advantages for healthcare systems as it facilitates better use of dispensing clinical skills of pharmacists, increases access to medication and may contribute to reducing prescribed drug costs associated with publicly funded health programmes. However, increasing availability of non-prescription medicines may encourage patients to believe that there is a drug treatment for every ailment. Furthermore, the use of such products may delay/mask the diagnosis of serious illness, with increased risks of interactions and adverse reactions and of self-treatment being undertaken when medical aid should have been sought. There is also the potential for misuse and abuse of such products1.

 

 

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