Castries, Saint Lucia: Medicines are useful in treating disease and improving health. Although medications make you feel better, it’s important to know that all medications have risks as well as benefits.
People will get various benefits from the medicine which will be helpful in alleviating and relieving pain, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, and curing infection. However, there is a risk associated with the drugs, which could create unwanted or unexpected side effects such as kidney or liver damage.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Elderly Affairs encourages people to obtain medication only from a pharmacy. The Pharmacy Act Cap. 11.21 prescribes four (4) different classes of drugs. 1. Controlled. 2. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. 3. Assisted Pharmacist. 4. By prescription only.
Controlled and prescription-only drugs must be prescribed by a physician or other licensed healthcare professional and must be dispensed by a pharmacy. The Pharmacist must keep the medication prescription under control; thus, a 28 day supply is given.
Pharmacist-assisted drugs can only be purchased at a pharmacy and under the supervision of a pharmacist. Prescriptions, which are written instructions from a physician or other licensed healthcare professional, authorize a patient to receive medication. Prescriptions must be filled by a pharmacy. Prescriptions for chronic conditions may be valid for up to six (6) months from the day they are written. Antibiotic prescriptions are only valid for seven (7) days from the day they are written.
We ask people to familiarize themselves with their medications. Take their medication at the same time each day. Check them to see if they are in good condition. Keep a list of your medications to determine which ones are missing. Check your prescriptions to make sure they are valid.
Remember that the pharmacist’s primary concern is the patient. If you are unsure 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.