Experts Ask Govt To Bring An Official List Of OTC Drugs With Classifications

Chennai: Participants attended in an online ‘patient-counseling training programme’ conducted by the Kerala branch of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) have observed that a legal definition is inevitably needed for OTC drugs and the government should necessarily bring an official list of over-the-counter drugs with classifications.

The training programme was conducted to empower the working pharmacists for patient counseling and it was attended by a selected group of 100 pharmacists working in community pharmacies and hospital pharmacies.

The programme covered 15 most relevant areas of pharmacy practice and eminent scholars, veteran academic faculties and medical professionals delivered lectures. On November 21, the state health minister Veena George will give away certificates to the pharmacists who have successfully completed the training programme, said Dr P Jayasekhar, president of the Kerala IPA.

Dr A S Manjula Devi, associate professor at Sree Ramakrishna College of Pharmacy in Coimbatore delivered the lecture on ‘non-prescription medicines and patient counseling’ which lasted for three hours. According to her, India is the only country in the world which does not have a well-designed OTC drug list. She said discussion is going on for several years, but the list is yet to be published. She told the participating pharmacists that medicines which do not fall under the category of Schedule H, H1, X and G can be dispensed without the prescription of registered medical practitioners.

“There is a wide array of non-prescription medicines in India which includes paracetamol, antacid preparations, vitamins, nutritional supplements, oral rehydration salts and certain dermatological products. Irrational use of the non-prescription medicines poses several health related problems in India, especially in vulnerable patients. Improper selection of non-prescription drugs can cause delayed diagnosis of underlying conditions, prolonged suffering, drug dependence, adverse drug reactions, hospitalization and wastage of money. Therefore, non-prescription medicines bring unique practice opportunities to the pharmacists for value added service in their pharmacy settings,” said Dr Manjuladevi.

The speaker advised the pharmacists to learn how to distinguish between prescription drug and OTC drug. Pharmacists must always be readily available for counseling about the medications. Before explaining to the patients about the drug use and dosage forms, pharmacists must understand the medical history of the patients.

Nobody knows the current status of OTC drugs which are passing through the pharmacies in the country and a lot of prescription drugs are also sold as non-prescription or OTC products, she told Pharmabiz while speaking about the programme.

Other subjects discussed in the one-month long programme were storage conditions of medicines, how to start a pharmacy, medication use of anti-diabetic and anti-hypertension drugs, how to manage cardiovascular drugs and use of antibiotics. Professors in respective area and medical professionals from medical colleges took the classes.

Dr Jayasekhar said the health minister will inaugurate the NPW celebration on November 21 Sunday and many programmes have been arranged to be held on the day.

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