Former Minister of Health Donville Inniss is against easy access to over-the-counter drugs (OTCs) being sold in supermarkets.
Inniss voiced his opposition to this practice today in the House of Assembly while speaking on the Pharmacy (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
In condemning the practice, the St James South MP said: “We do not have to wait until something dramatic happens or an adverse incident happens to citizens to say that we need to curb, or better manage, the dispensing or provision of over-the-counter drugs.
“The reality about it is, there are some drugs that one can walk into a supermarket and purchase, oblivious of the potential consequences if you mix them with another drug that is prescribed by a doctor.
Inniss said: “Whilst on one hand, one can appreciate the ease afforded to the individual walking in and buying something for a chest cold or a runny nose, if you are not mindful of the consequences when you mix that with another drug then some severe adverse consequences could occur. They do occur on a regular basis in Barbados.”
He suggested that the time had come for Barbadians to wrap their minds around the issue of the ready availability of OTCs and the potential risks to individuals in the society.
The former Minister of Health suggested that pharmacists should be more involved in the wider society they serve and called for more education programmes to be conducted by them.
“We need to go back to the fundamentals of the village days when the pharmacist was seen as the person you visited for so many things. Today they seem to operate in a very sterile environment as they move away from a lot of work they formerly did,” Inniss said.
The St James South MP expressed concern that many of the persons who have easy access to over-the-counter drugs could become addicted to them.
He suggested that they might be one of the easiest and cheapest ways that some Barbadians have become addicted to pharmaceuticals.
Earlier, Inniss dismissed suggestions that with the amendment to the Pharmacy Act, which gives the Minister of Health the authority to appoint the chairman and deputy chairman of the Pharmacy Council, would politicize the body.
He contended that the Pharmacy Council should not become incestuous, while singling out the Bar Association and other professional bodies. He said ordinary citizens should be appointed to the Pharmacy Council.