Regulations surrounding the sale of over-the-counter medications are starting to be enforced in New Brunswick, despite being in place but largely ignored for decades.
The New Brunswick College of Pharmacists is cracking down on the sale of certain medications such as Sudafed, Benadryl and Gravol in any establishment that doesn’t contain a pharmacy.
That means gas stations and convenience stores will no longer sell these products.
Registrar for the college Sam Lanctin said it’s a move that’s being done with public safety in mind and one they hope will bring on a change in the way people think about over-the-counter medication.
“A lot of the public tends to think of these products as fairly benign and safe, and we have had a little bit of a lax attitude about them,” he explained.
“But the reality is, there are risks with these products and we encourage people to speak with a pharmacist when they’re looking for these products.”
Though typically kept behind the counter in a corner store as opposed to on a pharmacy shelf, as is the case with some Schedule 3 drugs, Lanctin said it’s the lack of opportunity for consultation with a trained professional that concerns the college.
The college cites statistics that say more than 10 per cent of ER visits and nearly 20 per cent of hospital admissions are due to the misuse of medication. That’s proof positive that this is a necessary step to ensure public safety.
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The college also points out that the medication will still remain widely accessible for people to purchase, just not in all of the traditional places they’ve been in the past.
“These products will still be available for sale over the counter in a pharmacy. But they’re not meant to be used in a corner store without having the supervision of a pharmacist.”