Over-the-counter pain medication has become more popular in recent years.
More people in Singapore are skipping a visit to the doctor and buying medication on their own to treat aches and pains, with pharmacies selling more non-prescription drugs for such ailments.
Three major pharmacy chains here – Guardian, Watsons and Unity Pharmacy – told The Straits Times they have seen increased sales of common pain-relief medication, such as Panadol and Nurofen. (Also Read: 5 Important Must-Knows to Manage Your Headache More Effectively)
A spokesman for Guardian said sales of oral and topical pain-relief products have increased by about 4.6 per cent since the start of this year. At Unity Pharmacy, sales of oral painkillers so far this year have grown by double digits over the same period last year.
All three chains said sales of these drugs have gone up over three years but did not give detailed figures.
Pharmacists say the trend is driven by the ease of online self-diagnosis and availability of more non-prescription painkillers.
“Self-medication is useful to prevent and treat simple ailments,” said Ms Boon Choon Pei, senior pharmacist at the National University Hospital. “When done right, it reduces unnecessary medical consultations.”
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has also reclassified several pain-relief medications from the prescription to non-prescription category since last year.
An HSA spokesman said this year, Acustop (flurbiprofen) Plaster was reclassified to pharmacy-only medicine, meaning it can be used only under the supervision of a pharmacist; while Kefentech (ketoprofen) Air Plaster is now on the general sale list.