THE PRESCRIPTION TO OVER-THE-COUNTER SWITCHES AND DOUBLE REGISTRATION OF MEDICINES - THE PERSPECTIVE OF PHARMACISTS FROM THE GREATER POLAND.
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The prescription to over-the-counter switch is a global occurrence. However, the switch phenomenon might be considered controversial. Nevertheless, the further development of switches seems to be inevitable, thus we collected pharmacists’ opinions about Rx-to-OTC switches including double registration of medicines. The study was conducted in pharmacies from the Greater Poland, using an anonymous questionnaire, which was delivered by direct contact. Finally, answers from 232 pharmacies were included in the study. Moreover, we analyzed data from 5500 Polish pharmacies, concerning the turnover of selected and doubly registered medicines. Rx-to-OTC switches were negatively evaluated by the majority (81.5%) of respondents. “Furaginum” was the most frequently chosen (60.8%) substance, which according to obtained answers should be available only on prescription. Study participants claimed that the most important drawback (chosen by 44.4% participants) of the double registration of medicines is the development of uncontrolled self-medication. Data obtained from a market research company revealed that the Rx-to-OTC switch may lead to the market share growth of OTC class (e.g. “furaginum”), but it is not the rule (e.g. “omeprazole/pantoprazole”). Although Rx-to-OTC switches are considered somewhat controversial, the switch, as well as double registration phenomenon, seems to be a subject of further development. However, in pharmacists opinion substances like “furaginum” should be available as an Rx-only brand instead of double registered medicine. In the case of Rx-to-OTC switches, additional information about possible side effects and/or interactions should be provided to the patients who might inappropriately use medicines.
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