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Home Industry News Plans for over the counter prescription drugs criticised

Plans for over the counter prescription drugs criticised

14th January 2009

Government plans to make certain prescription-only drugs available over the counter have been heavily criticised by healthcare professionals.

In a survey published by the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) today the experts suggest drugs companies, rather than patients, have the most to gain from the proposed changes.

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed felt the move to make trimethoprim available in pharmacies without prescription was a bad idea.

And just over half felt that patients might misdiagnose their symptoms, while 51 per cent thought over the counter availability might encourage patients to overuse or misuse the drug.

The proposal to make tamsulosin available without prescription was also rejected by four out of five respondents.

A large number of those surveyed expressed concern that changes in drug availability could delay patients seeking help for more serious underlying disease.

Commenting on the survey results, Dr Ike Iheanacho, editor of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, said: “The survey indicates major concerns about proposals to make certain medicines available without prescription.

“Healthcare professionals seem largely unconvinced that these changes would provide net benefits to patients. They are also sceptical about the motives underlying the proposed switches.”

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