- The SA health regulator has launched an online directory of over-the-counter medicines.
- It allows consumers and healthcare professionals to find information on registered Schedule 0, 1 and 2 medicines.
- Most flyers contain a lot of text with no visuals, but online information is easier to digest.
If you have lost a medicine leaflet, don’t panic, you can now access the information online via the South African Health Products Authority (Sahpra) website.
The online over-the-counter (OTC) medicines directory was launched by the health regulator on Thursday and is available to all South African consumers and healthcare professionals.
The directory is the first of its kind in the world, said Nicola Brink, CEO of the Self-Care Association of South Africa.
“Half the time, [these pamphlets] get lost, or they are just too small to read, and now that digital tools are so widely available and easily accessible wherever you are, we try to ensure that we can provide quick access to credible information about these medicines,” said Dr. Boitumelo Semete, CEO of Sahpra.
She continued, “We’ve had a lot of misinformation during Covid, and what we’re launching today is really a first step to addressing that… saying we need to have accessible, quality information about these healthcare products at the available to the public”, and added that the directory was not intended to pit one product against another.
What drugs are on the site?
The directory will include all Sahpra-approved OTC drugs from schedules 0, 1 and 2 which are all available for purchase at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription.
Schedule 0 drugs that are indicated for self-treating conditions, such as Panado, can be purchased at pharmacies, supermarkets, garages, spazas, and convenience stores.
On the mobile-friendly website, you can search all over-the-counter drugs registered by Sahpra by simply typing the name of the drug. All product information will appear. See pictures below:
To search for a drug by its name, simply type it in the search bar.
After clicking on a particular drug, all the information, as well as a picture, will appear.
The regulator has also made available a PDF version of the product information leaflets and patient information leaflets, which can be downloaded.
If you forgot the product name, you can search for the product manufacturer, scroll through their product listings and find what you are looking for.
Depending on the extent of use of the site, Sahpra may seek to include information on prescription drugs, medical devices and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) products on the site. Veterinary products will also appear on the directory if they are registered with Sahpra, said Portia Nkambule, Sahpra’s regulatory officer.
Consumers and healthcare professionals can access the site by visiting medsinfo.sahpra.org.za
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