3 Legal Classifications of Medicines

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The Table Reclassifications approved as at 30 September 2021 (MS Excel spreadsheet, 34.7 KB) 1991 – 2021 contains information on UK medicines reclassified from prescription medicines (POM) to pharmacy medicines (P) and from medicines P to general sales lists (GSL) from 1991 to 30 September 2021. The list is updated every six months. From 1991 to 2015, only the first reclassification of a substance is included, and other extensions such as broader indications, additional packaging sizes or higher concentrations were not considered. As of 2016, all significant and standard reclassifications are included. Reclassifications based on an analog product (known as “me-too”) are not included. Reclassification is important if, for example, it is the first of a new therapeutic class or target population for an existing product. Major reclassifications must be submitted to a committee of experts. The law defines three categories of drugs: prescription drugs (POM)[3], which are only available from a pharmacist if prescribed by an appropriate doctor; Drugs in pharmacies (P), which are only available from a pharmacist, but without a prescription; and General Sales List (GSL) drugs that can be purchased at any store without a prescription. P&T Community. The U.S. Pharmacopoeia celebrates 200 years of trust in drugs, supplements, and foods. “Over-the-counter medicines”: all medicines generally sold and medicines in pharmacies. The description conveniently distinguishes between drugs that can be purchased and those that need to be prescribed.

The term “over-the-counter medicines” is informal and is not used in UK medicines regulations. Each drug has an approved name called a generic name. This name does not change. A group of drugs that work in a similar way often have similar-sounding generic names. For example, penicillin, ampicillin, amoxycillin, and flucloxacillin are the generic names for a group of antibiotics. People can buy general medicine packages in retail stores such as family stores and supermarkets. The drugs – also known as the “General Sales List (GSL)” – are also available for self-selection in pharmacies. General-selling drugs are taken for common and easily recognizable conditions, which usually last about 2-3 days. These drugs cause few annoying side effects with normal use. We would like to hear from patients who are interested in medication and personal care, as well as community pharmacists, primary care physicians, nurses and health professionals who are currently working in a patient-centred role and who are willing to reflect on professional issues and attend a short meeting if necessary.

If you would like to participate, please send an email to engagement@mhra.gov.uk. We will retain your information and contact you when a particular product is discussed. The packaging of these drugs is labeled as “POM”. You`ll find this brand on antidepressants, insulin, and more potent sleeping pills. A pharmacist may provide a patient with prescription drugs without a prescription at the request of a prescribing physician or patient. Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis using professional judgment to decide which course of action is considered to be in the best interests of the patient. An updated table of reclassifications approved from 1991 to March 2019 has been added to the page under the Legal Status of Substances page. The legal classification of a drug can sometimes change – we call this reclassification. It is sometimes called “switching”. Growing confidence in the role of the drug and a better understanding of its side effects can lead to a change in classification. Herbal medicines may also interact with other medicines that the assisted person is taking.

This could lead to a reduced or greater effect of other medications, including side effects. Therefore, it is very important that someone who prescribes medication to a supported person is aware of all the herbal remedies that the person is currently taking. A description of the legal classification of medicines in the UK can be found on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society website and in the publications Medicines Ethics and Practice. [4] GSL is a type of drug for which there are few legal restrictions.

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