Pharmacy Medicines Not Subject to Medical Prescription in Portugal: An Underused Access Opportunity?

Ana Paula Martins, Elizabete Gonçalves, Ana Marcelo, Sergio Vilão, José Aranda Silva

Abstract


Introduction: In 2013 medicinal products for human use not subject to medical prescription dispensed exclusively in pharmacy, a subcategory of products not subject to medical prescription was introduced in Portugal. This category of medicinal products promotes the accessibility to treatment, ensuring safety and efficacy, with benefits to public health. This article analyzed the medicines classified as medicinal products for human use not subject to medical prescription dispensed exclusively in pharmacy or equivalent in seven European countries, United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Czech Republic and Portugal, and proposes a preliminary list of common international names/ medicines that possess the characteristics that justify their inclusion in Portugal, in this category.
Material and Methods: For the selection, common international names /medicines approved in the considered countries were selected if, in at least one of the countries considered, they are classified as medicinal products for human use not subject to medical prescription dispensed exclusively in pharmacy or equivalent, and/ or have the classification of medicinal products subject to medical prescription in Portugal and medicinal products not subject to medical prescription in one of the considered countries.
Results: The preliminary list obtained contains 271 different common international names / presentations. About 19% of the selected common international names do not have a valid marketing authorization in Portugal and the majority (42%) is classified in Portugal as medicinal products not subject to medical prescription, a lower percentage (35%) as medicinal products subject to medical prescription, and only 4% as medicinal products for human use not subject to medical prescription dispensed exclusively in pharmacy.
Conclusion: Safety is one of the main aspects to be considered in the context of the reclassification of medicines regarding their supply to the public. The results obtained promote a reflection on the relevance of extending the availability of medicines with the classification of medicinal products for human use not subject to medical prescription dispensed exclusively in pharmacy in Portugal, which, due to their characteristics and indications, would benefit from an access without a medical prescription, ensuring the safety in its use.


Keywords


Community Pharmacy Services; Nonprescription Drugs; Portugal; Safety; Self Medication.



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