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OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATION (OTC)

OTC products are medicines and food supplements available 'over the counter' (OTC) from a pharmacy, without a prescription. The Medicines Act 1968 defines three legal categories of medicines:

  • General sales list medicines (GSL)
  • Pharmacy medicines (P)
  • Prescription-only medicines (POM).

Strict licensing procedures are enforced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), with stricter legal controls for POM medicines. A change of status, from POM to P, or from P to GSL, requires evidence that the medicine is safe for most people to use, and that benefits far outweigh any risks, and the consequences of any side-effects or misuse are assessed.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/medicines-and-healthcare-products-regulatory-agency

Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB) represents manufacturers of OTC medicines and food supplements in UK https://www.pagb.co.uk/

Self Care Forum https://www.selfcareforum.org

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