Updated on 19 January 2015
Many NGO's have expressed concern over misuse of OTC drugs (PC: www.youngsday.com)
Singapore: According to the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare, thirteen prescription drugs will be sold over-the-counter at pharmacies nationwide. The purpose of making these drugs available to OTC sales is to reduce the number of people visiting physicians to get access to these medications. The MOHW called the plan as 'Self Medication'.
The drugs will help reduce allergies and will be open for purchase at local pharmacies starting June this year, said the MOHW in a statement. Though, this move by the government has received optimistic responses, some non-governmental organizations have expressed concern against the liberalization of these drugs, stating that people might not use them safely without doctor's guidance.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claimed that they filtered several prescription medications and picked the safest 13 that are mostly used to cure slight or trivial symptoms or discomfort. The agency further said that the drugs have been used in Taiwan for more than ten years, and do not have any history of side-effects.
The FDA further added that the medications' instructions, in conjunction with inputs from pharmacists are a sufficient to distribute these well-established drugs. The 13 drugs to be sold OTC include antihistamines, allergy relief nasal sprays and Azelastine.
Many NGOs in the country, however, said that with inexperienced and unlicensed pharmacies there was a problem, as many a times, pharmacists do not have the time to explain the drugs, its ingredients and functions.