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Ministry of Health and Wellness delineates list of medications for general sale

Posted: Sunday, March 26, 2023. 6:18 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Ministry of Health and Wellness has refreshed the official list of Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications for general sale first published in 2020.

Containing many regularly used medications and medicinal items known to most Belizeans, they are deemed safe enough to be used by consumers in accordance with their labels without needing a prescription or advice from health professionals.

The list includes acetaminophen/paracetamol for children and adults, most usually marketed under the brand name ‘Tylenol;’ ibuprofen; the solution commonly known as ‘Pepto-Bismol’; combination medicines for upset stomach/indigestion/heartburn; combination antacid/antigas compounds; pain relief and cough and cold medicines; cough drops; isopropyl alcohol; hydrogen peroxide; menthol creams; and oral rehydration solutions.

But they are subject to regulation. Establishments such as supermarkets, grocery stores, and gas stations that do not have a valid facility license from the Ministry cannot sell medications other than these listed, and the Ministry’s drug inspectors retain the authority to enter and inspect any place of manufacture, production, preparation, preservation, packaging, storage or sale of drugs and seize unauthorized drugs.

All establishments carrying any medication must display a sign where medications are located indicating that medications should be used in accordance with written instructions on the package and that they should consult a medical professional if symptoms persist.

All products must be stored in accordance with the manufacturer’s stipulations. Failure to comply may result in the confiscation of products. All products should be appropriately labeled for retail sale with manufacturer’s drug facts and instructions for use. Under no circumstances shall a product be tampered with, repackaged, or removed from its complete original packaging.

The sale of medicines is prohibited to persons under the age of 12 years in accordance with the Laws of Belize, Chapter 311 (Chemist and Druggist Act).

The Ministry of Health & Wellness also urges all consumers only to take prescription medications when prescribed by a registered medical practitioner and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist from a licensed pharmacy.


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