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Doctor’s prescription required from September 1

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, August 15
Thousands of medicines will no longer be sold without prescriptions. There are such medicines on the list as well that are widely used. The decision caused controversy among the public so the Ministry of Healthcare had to provide additional explanations.

The Medical Activities State Control Agency has published a list of medications that will no longer be sold without prescriptions from September 1. As per the amendment to the law, medications of the 2nd groups, including sleeping and relaxing medications (except herbal ones), antidepressants, microbial drugs for systemic use, anti-cancer and diabetes drugs, will no longer be sold without prescriptions.

Moreover, individuals will have to present prescriptions for such popular medications as: Nimesil, Ketonal, Glukos, Dimedrol, Suprastin, Analgin, Vitamin E, Dramina, Erythromycin and 6,209 other medicines.

The 3rd group of medications, which will be sold without prescriptions, includes more than 3,000 medicines.

The Medical Activities State Control Agency has posted a list of medicines requiring prescriptions (1st and 2nd groups) and those which will be sold without prescriptions (3rd group).

The list and especially the restriction on “popular” medicines resulted in angry responses from some. Lots of users openly expressed their protest to the change through their social networks.

According to Niko Gongadze, Professor of Medical Science and Chief Specialist of the Pharmacy Regulation Department of the Medicament Control Agency, when the government was compiling the list of medicines that do or do not require a prescription, it was basing its decision on the experiences of developed countries.

Niko Gongadze made a special mention of a widely used painkiller Nimesil, saying that it belongs to the non-steroid anti-inflammatory (NSAID) family of drugs that is not sold without prescription in developed countries. He stressed that the medicine has been banned in the United States. Gongadze admitted that Georgians carelessly use the medicine, which can cause serious liver damage with misuse. He admitted that there are lots of other painkillers that will be sold without prescription and people can buy them instead.

The Minister of Health Davit Sergeenko is going to meet with doctors and representatives of pharmaceutical companies. The minister stressed that the public concern over the new rules was caused because of an SMS sent by pharmacies (pharmacies are sending messages to people to store medicines until Septeember1). According to him, there is no risk of stimulating the so-called black market or increase in price.

“The real tragedy is that part of our society does not trust in doctors at all . This is a major problem that should be solved. As for stimulating the so-called black market, there is no risk of it,” Sergeenko said, adding that a visit to doctor is financed by the government in any part of the country. Consequently, people will have no discomfort with regard to prescriptions.

“I assure you that there is no reason for panic, especially when more than 3,000 medicines will be sold without the prescription,” Segeenko said.