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J Postgrad Med. 2020 Jan-Mar;66(1):28-34. doi: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_381_19.

Over-the-counter medicines: Global perspective and Indian scenario.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India.
2
Behavioral Neuroscience Group, Department of Psychology, University of Tasmania, Australia.

Abstract

Patients often approach a pharmacist instead of visiting a doctor for minor ailments such as cough, cold, allergies, pain, fever, acidity, diarrhea, and skin-related conditions. Purchase of specific medicines over the counter is legally recognized in most countries. 'Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicines' means drugs which are legally allowed to be sold by pharmacists without need for a prescription. The term does not have a legal definition in India. Technically, drugs are OTC unless they are specifically stated as prescription only drugs. OTC drugs allow faster and cheaper access to healthcare; however, their misuse and adverse health effects cause concerns. This article describes concept of OTC medicines and practices in India against the background of globally prevalent regulations and practices. A recognized category of OTC medicines by law, patient awareness programs, and support of pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies are required to optimize the use of OTC medicines in India.

KEYWORDS:

Drugs and cosmetics act; nonprescription drugs; over-the-counter; self-medications

PMID:
31898596
DOI:
10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_381_19
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