How can you get medicines?
Some medicines are available from pharmacists or supermarkets, while others
require a prescription from your GP or another healthcare professional.
The availability of medicines depends on the level of supervision experts
believe is necessary before you use a particular medicine.
Under laws governing the supply of medicines, you can obtain medicine under
- prescription-only medicines
- general sales list medicines
These are explained in more detail below.
Prescription-only medicines need a prescription issued by a GP or another
suitably qualified healthcare professional.
You then take the prescription to a pharmacy or a dispensing GP surgery to
collect your medicine.
Pharmacy medicines are available from a pharmacy without a prescription,
but under the supervision of a pharmacist.
You will need to ask staff at the pharmacy for this type of medicine because
it is kept behind the counter and is not available on the pharmacy shelves.
The pharmacist will check the medicine is appropriate for you and your health
problem. They will ask you questions to ensure there is no reason why you
should not use the medicine.
General sales list medicines
General sales list medicines can be bought from pharmacies, supermarkets and
other retail outlets without the supervision of a pharmacist. These are
sometimes referred to as over-the-counter medicines.
Over-the-counter medicines include those that treat minor self-limiting
complaints people may feel are not serious enough to see their GP or