prescription or non-prescription
A prescription is required in four situations:
- Medicinal products are dispensed only on prescription if the
patient would be at direct or indirect risk by taking the medicinal
product without medical supervision even if he or she took it in
the proper way.
This is true of antibiotics, for example. Unsupervised use
increases the risk of bacteria becoming resistant to the
antibiotic. Medical supervision is essential as there are
considerable risks of side-effects.
- The product is very often used in a way that does not
correspond with the instructions for use, and there is a direct or
indirect risk to health as a result.
This is true of medicinal products which are associated with a risk
of dependency or addiction.
- The active ingredient in the medicinal product or the
preparation is very new and so must be monitored closely for
efficacy and adverse events.
In general, a medicinal product must be provided only on
prescription for the first five years that it is on the
- The medicinal product is intended for parenteral administration
It is also usually the case that a medicinal product requires a
prescription if the condition needs to be diagnosed by a
More information about over-the-counter medicinal products