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over-the-counter drugs at the supermarket

Aspirin Esselunga, Coop cough syrup, at more or less bargain prices? This is not the scenario that lies ahead for the measures approved a week ago by the Council of Ministers who are filling the squares with rioting taxi drivers, but have also sent pharmacists into a rage. If the maneuver enters into force by decree, it will only be a question of the sale of a handful of over-the-counter drugs (from the English over the counter, literally) in supermarkets under the control and watchful eye of the pharmacist.
Raising of shields of a category in a white coat who suddenly feels threatened (among other things, the hereditary principle for pharmacy owners is overcome) and depleted - it is undeniable - of a source of income, around 10% of their turnover. A greater offer stimulates purchase, the pharmacists counterattack. If, then, this purchase takes place at particularly advantageous prices (it is estimated that in large-scale distribution there may be a drop in 30% and more), the risk is that the Italians stock up on over-the-counter medicines and throw them down at the first illness, exactly as the Americans do, who can buy medicines anywhere and in huge doses.
But in European countries who paved the way for this liberalization of sales, albeit in a very limited way, like Great Britain about ten years ago and, subsequently, Holland and Denmark, this unbridled consumerism has not appeared. «In the United Kingdom, over-the-counter medicines are divided into two categories: one restricted to very few products that can also be purchased in drugstores, petrol stations and supermarkets, the other, broader, of medicines that can also be sold in chain stores that include a pharmaceutical section, but always under the control of the pharmacist. These are anti-inflammatories, analgesics, antacids, antiulcers, antihistamines – he specifies Livio Garattini, director of the Health Economics Center (Cesav) of the M. Negri Institute of Ranica, near Bergamo – . Everything disciplined and regulated, therefore: no wild market. I have the impression that in Italy there is a tendency and a desire to continue to identify the pharmacy with the pharmacist. While they are, of course, two different things. What Minister Bersani's maneuver is affecting is the exclusivity of the place where the pharmacist can operate. Indeed, I believe that these new supermarket outlets can represent an excellent employment opportunity for young graduates. And let's not forget the indisputable lowering of prices: why must the Italians continue to pay for these medicines more than the English or the Dutch?».
Today, many reproach pharmacies for having become large emporiums where, in the wake of drug credibility, everything from cosmetics to shoes is sold. “This is one of the reasons that I am in favor of the government maneuver – he comments Gian Paolo Velo, professor of pharmacology at the University of Verona and director of the reference center of the World Health Organization for information and communication on the correct use of medicines - . The pharmacist must go back to his job explaining the effects of that medicine, recommending it or not recommending it. Often Necessary: The rational use of a pill in many cases is not to take it at all. Let's not exaggerate, then: Italians don't have a great passion for self-medication; the idea still prevails that the treatment should be prescribed, or at least recommended by the doctor». I affirm

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco