List of OTC drugs grows in new plan

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List of OTC drugs grows in new plan

Following the reclassification of 48 medicines this month, which allows them to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores, the Ministry of Health and Welfare today gave a 20-day notice for a bill allowing the sale of cold medicines, fever reducers and painkillers at those locations as well.

The ministry is revising the country’s pharmaceutical laws in an effort to ease the inconvenience of purchasing these medicines when pharmacies are closed.

“The public has been experiencing inconveniences as operations of nighttime pharmacies have been poorly done,” said vice minister Choi Won-young. “In order to solve such inconveniences, the ministry decided to push ahead with the revised bill.”

The bill needs approval by the National Assembly and the ministry expects the bill to take effect early next year.

With the ministry’s action there would be three categories of drugs: prescribed medicine, general medicine and non-pharmacy limited medicine. Current law only has two classifications: prescribed and general.

According to the ministry, nonpharmacy limited medicines are fever reducers and painkillers such as Tylenol, Brufen and Aspirin; cold medicines such as Whituben syrup, Pancol A and Haben syrup; digestive medicines such as Bearse and Festal; and some medical supplies such as pain relief patches.

Retailers will need to complete a training session before receiving a sales permit. The bill also regulates the number of medicine packs per sale to prevent drug abuse or overdose. All non-pharmacy limited medicines will need to be packaged and contain a mark that indicates the medicine as non-pharmacy limited.


By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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