- SA's health regulator has launched an online OTC Medicines Directory.
- It enables consumers and healthcare professionals to find information on registered Schedule 0, 1 and 2 medicines.
- Most leaflets are text-heavy with no visuals, but the online information is easier to digest.
If you’ve lost a medication leaflet, no need to panic, you can now access the information online via the South African Health Products Authority’s (Sahpra) website.
The Over the Counter (OTC) Online Medicines’ Directory was launched by the health regulator on Thursday and is available to all South African consumers and healthcare professionals.
This directory is the first of its kind in the world, said Nicola Brink, CEO of the Self-Care Association of South Africa.
“Half the time, [these pamphlets] get lost, or they’re just too small to read, and now with digital tools being so broadly available and easily accessible wherever you are, we are trying to ensure that we can provide quick access to credible information around these medicines,” said Dr Boitumelo Semete, CEO of Sahpra.
She continued: “We had a lot of misinformation taking place during Covid, and what we are launching today really is a first step to addressing that … saying we must have accessible, quality information on these health products available to the public,” and added that the directory was not intended to pitch one product against another.
Which meds are on the site?
The Directory will include all OTC Schedule 0, 1 and 2 registered Sahpra-approved medicines which are all available for purchase from a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription.
Schedule 0 medications that are indicated for self-treatable conditions, such as Panado, may be purchased at pharmacies, supermarkets, garage forecourts, spaza shops and convenience stores.
On the mobile-friendly website, you can search for all Sahpra-registered OTC medicines by simply typing in the name of the medication. All the information about the product will pop up. See the images below:
The regulator has also made available a PDF version of the products' information and patient information leaflets, which can be downloaded.
If you forgot the product's name, you can search the product manufacturer, scroll down their product listings, and find what you’re looking for.
Depending on how extensively the site is used, Sahpra will eventually look to include prescription medication, medical devices, and in vitro diagnostic products (IVDs) information on the site. Veterinary products will also appear on the directory if they are registered with Sahpra, said Portia Nkambule, chief regulatory officer of Sahpra.
Consumers and healthcare professionals can access the site by visiting medsinfo.sahpra.org.za