Castries, Saint Lucia: Medicines are helpful in the treatment of diseases and the improvement of health. Although medicines make you feel better, it is important to know that all medicines have risks as well as benefits.
People will get various benefits from medicine which will be helpful in mitigating and relieving pain, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure and curing the infection. However, there is a risk associated with the medicines, which could create unwanted or unexpected side effects such as kidney or liver damage.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness & Elderly Affairs encourages people to obtain medicines only from a pharmacy. The Pharmacy Act Cap. 11.21 prescribes four (4) different categories of medicines. 1. Controlled. 2. Over-the-counter medicines (OTC). 3. Pharmacist Assisted. 4. Prescription-only.
Controlled and prescription-only medicines have to be prescribed by a doctor or other authorized health professional, and it has to be dispensed from a pharmacy. The Pharmacist must keep the prescription for controlled medicines; thus, a 28-day supply is given.
Pharmacist-assisted medicines can be bought only from pharmacies and under a pharmacist’s supervision. Prescriptions, which are written instructions by a doctor or other authorized health professional, authorize a patient to be provided with medicine. Prescriptions must be filled by a pharmacy. Prescriptions for chronic conditions can be valid for up to six (6) months from the day it is written. Prescriptions for antibiotics are valid for only seven (7) days from the day it is written.
We ask that people be familiar with their medicines. Take their medicines at the same time each day. Check them to see if they are in good condition. Keep a list of your medicines to determine which ones are missing. Check your prescriptions to ensure that it is valid.
Remember the prime concern of the Pharmacist is the patient. If you are not sure of anything, ask your Pharmacist. For more information, please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit at 468-5309/468-5317 respectively.