BENGALURU: There’s some confusion regarding over the counter (OTC) sale of paracetamol, acetaminophen and antihistamine drugs as many pharmacies and chemists demand doctor’s prescription for these medicines. These drugs are used to treat fever, body pain, common cold, cough and cold due to allergy including rhinitis.“We received instructions from the government a fortnight ago not to sell paracetamol, anti-cold and anti allergy medicines without prescription and we are following the rules,” said a chemist on 17th Cross Malleswaram. He added that there has been a huge demand for paracetamol —Dolo650 - since March.
“I was selling at least 50 sheets of Dolo every day till the government order came. The demand for these drugs has come down after we ask people to furnish doctor’s prescription,” said another chemist.
When contacted, the Drug Controller’s office said no such circular has been issued from their office. But they are “monitoring the sale of paracetamol and anti cold drugs to help track the spread of Covid-19 infection,” said an officer from the Drug Controller’s office.
He added that last month some deputy commissioners under the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) may have issued some guidelines to the chemists and pharmacies regarding sale of OTC drugs. “We are monitoring the sale of paracetamol. However, we must make all essential drugs available to people without any difficulty,” said the officer.
This unknown order has put many people who need paracetamol for fever and antihistamines for seasonal allergies, especially cold, cough and rhinitis into trouble. “My child has an auto inflammatory condition because of which, he gets very high fever every month. I have been regularly buying paracetamol from our neighbourhood chemist. This time to my surprise he asked me for a prescription despite knowing my child’s condition for years. I had to request the doctor to send me an online prescription,” said a distraught parent.
In a similar instance, a senior citizen, who is prone to seasonal cough was asked for his mobile number by his chemist when he went to buy his regular cough medicines. “In 24 hours, my father-in-law got a recorded message on IVRS asking him if he had any Covid-19-related symptoms,” said a family member.