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Ibuprofen 600 and 1g paracetamol now on prescription only as government enforces 2015 law
IBUPROFEN in 600mg capsules and paracetamol in one-gram pills are now only available on prescription, and pharmacies can be fined for selling them over the counter.
In practice, they have not been authorised for over-the-counter sales since 2015, when the Law of Guarantees and Reasonable Use of Medications was passed, but it has rarely been enforced.
This leniency started to change in February when the Spanish Medications Verification System (SEVEM) came into effect, meaning every single box of medicines carried its own individual code allowing it to be tracked, plus a seal on the lid preventing them from being opened before sale.
But as yet, no real controls have been stringent enough to prevent pharmacies from selling Ibuprofen and paracetamol in these quantities.
Now, though, the ministry of health has announced impromptu inspections on random pharmacies and, if any are caught failing to stick to the prescription requirement, they could be fined between €30,000 and €90,000, depending upon the severity of the offence.
As nearly all high-street pharmacies are independently-owned and typically family-run businesses which order in drugs and claim the prescription cost back from the State via their regional College of Pharmacists, a fine of this amount could literally lead to them going out of business overnight.
To this end, it is expected local chemists' will become far more stringent on sales of these medications, and customers are urged to be understanding and not pressurise their pharmacist.
Paracetamol can still be bought over the counter in 500mg or even 650mg pills, and Ibuprofen in 400mg capsules, so the end result may just mean a few more euros for the buyer who would have to double up or take an extra 50% rather than swallowing just one pill.
Otherwise, GPs will rarely hesitate to give a prescription for those who need to take them regularly.
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