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 three categories:

  • prescription-only medicines
  • pharmacy medicines
  • general sales list medicines

These are explained in more detail below.

Prescription-only medicines

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

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 pharmacist about.

This is just a guide if you would like more information please click on the websites listed below

The information we share is to help inform you, If you have any questions or concerns please discuss them with your nurse, doctor, other members of your care team or an advocate