Bayer and Pliva to Sell Popular Medicines Outside of Pharmacies?

Total Croatia News

Some of the most popular over-the-counter medicines in Croatia will perhaps be sold in specialized shops, in addition to pharmacies.

Aspirin, Andol and other drugs which contain acetylsalicylic acid could soon become available in specialized shops. Rumours about liberalization of the over-the-counter medicine market in Croatia started circulating a few years ago, but are now becoming a reality, reports Večernji List on January 19, 2017.

Bayer and Pliva have confirmed that they have asked the Croatian Agency for Medicines and Medical Devices (HALMED) to issue permits for sale of the medicines in specialized stores.

“In 2016, Bayer requested an expert advice from HALMED related to the approval of sale of medicines in specialized retail stores for Aspirin and Aspirin Plus C. After obtaining a positive response, Bayer has submitted appropriate documentation for the purpose of obtaining HALMED’s permit to sell Aspirin in specialized stores, as is already the case for other non-prescription medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen”, said Bayer in a statement.

Pliva filed a similar request for Andol 300, Andol Effect and Andol C medicines. At least in theory, Andol and Aspirin could find their way to shelves in 140 specialized retail outlets in a month or two.

However, Croatian Chamber of Pharmacists, Croatian Pharmaceutical Society, and the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry in Zagreb are opposed to such an idea. “Each medicine can also be a poison, and it is a medicine only if it is accompanied by an advice from an expert. Specialized stores are not obliged to employ pharmacists, whose advice is necessary for the use of each medicine. Unlimited use of medicines can lead to severe consequences, including death, which happened in Sweden, after which they prohibited the sale of paracetamol outside pharmacies”, said Mato Portolan, head of the Croatian Chamber of Pharmacists.

The three institutions initiated an urgent meeting with HALMED, where they put forward their arguments against liberalization. They are supported by expert opinion from Lidija Bach-Rojecky, head of the Department of Pharmacology of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry in Zagreb, who claims that such medicines may only be sold in pharmacies under the supervision and with the advice of a pharmacist.

Non-prescription drug market is regulated differently in individual member states of the European Union. For example, they are not allowed to be sold outside pharmacies in Germany and Austria, said Portolan. After liberalization, in several countries there was an increase in the number of cases of poisoning and death due to overdoses, which was followed by the return of the over-the-counter drugs to pharmacies.


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