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The medicines commission’s proposed ‘prescription only’ list


One aim of the 1968 Medicines Act was to provide a coherent and comprehensive system for determining what drugs require a prescription. The Medicines Commission has now published its proposals.1 In general restriction to prescription only is recommended for drugs of known or potential toxicity, and drugs that produce dependence or could be a hazard to the community. Two types of exemption from the restriction are proposed. One would allow pharmacists to supply prescription-only medicines in an emergency when a doctor undertakes to provide the prescription within the next 72 hours. The other would allow a person in urgent need of a prescription-only medicine previously prescribed for him by a doctor to obtain up to 3 days’ emergency supply directly from the pharmacist. It seems that such a supply would be available only to the person himself, not for example to a parent wanting it for a child.

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