Annual report on the inspection of retail sale of OTC medicines 2009-2010

24 August 2011

The pharmacies' OTC outlets – how did they manage?

In our report for 2008-2009, we made a number of critical remarks about the pharmacies' OTC outlets where we found too many deficiencies: expired medicines, possibility of self-service, medicines mixed with other goods, staff which did not know the rules, etc. As a result, we approached the Association of Danish Pharmacies to urge them to reduce the deficiencies. The issue was reported in the press.

We are therefore pleased with the figures for 2009-2010, which show that many pharmacies and their OTC outlets have acted on our criticism. Some pharmacies have followed up the inspections visits which we carried out in autumn 2009, and, in 2010, made handbooks for their OTC outlets to make it easier for staff and OTC outlet managers to know and comply with the rules of handling medicine.

In 2010, 10 % of the inspections of OTC outlets identified no deficiencies, which is quite an advance compared to 2008, see table 3b of the report. However, there are still too many deficiencies overall.

Efforts to remove expired OTC medicines from the shelves have paid off

In the report for 2008-2009, we noted that during the first half of 2009, the retail shops had become much more aware of removing expired medicines from the shelves. The most recent figures from 2009 and 2010 now show that the number of cases reported to the police due to expired medicines has fallen markedly compared to 2008. Please see table 5 of the report.

The Danish Medicines Agency’s efforts to eliminate expired medicines in retail shops has thus paid off, but we will maintain focus on this issue, as the number of medicines that have passed their expiry dates must still be reduced.

Our efforts to counter expired medicines in retail shops are intended to ensure that people in Denmark have access to medicines of the same quality they had when they left the manufacturer.

Continued increase in shops selling OTC medicines

With 249 new companies applying for authorisation to sell OTC medicines in 2009, and 200 in 2010, some 2,300 shops are now authorised to sell medicines (so-called authorised sales outlets). In addition, there are around 600 OTC outlets that dispense medicine from pharmacies. In conclusion, the interest in retail sale of medicine is growing.

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