Reported by Chen Jing-Jer from Taipei
In order to cut down NHI spending, the TFDA is planning to launch a self-medication program, hoping that patients will increase the use of community pharmacists for advices on treating ailments with instruction drugs. According to the TFDA, 17 prescription drugs will be reclassified as instruction drugs this year. However, the TFDA advised patients to see a doctor if their symptoms persist after on instruction drugs for three days so as to identify the cause of illness and access prescription drugs.
Liu Li-Ling, a section chief of the TFDA, expressed that the sales of non-prescription drugs account for 20% in many advanced countries; but, the ratio is just 6% in Taiwan. It means that seeing a doctor is still patients’ first option for dealing with health problems. In fact, many instruction drugs are effective in relieving the symptoms of ailments. A study shows that every dollar (US) spent on instruction drugs will save the healthcare resources by US$6.
As of now, the authority in Taiwan has issued 26,000 licences for prescription drugs, 7,200 licences for instruction drugs and 436 licences for OTC drugs. In the future, some prescription drugs will be reclassified as instruction drugs, thereby accessible to patients through community pharmacists. The TFDA also plans to make the package inserts of instruction drugs and OTC drugs simpler, aiming to make them comprehensible even for primary 6 pupils so that patients would understand the instructions on usage, risks and relevant information concerning the drug they take.
【2015-01-08 / Taiwan Hsin Sheng Daily】