Economy / Health

What is a “counter drug” in Italy

In Italy a “counter drug”, sometimes referred also as “C Category drug”, is a drug that can be sold without a medical prescription.

Despite being relatively innocuous, counter drugs can be sold nearly exclusively in pharmacies. Many observers argue that drugs could be cheaper if they were sold also elsewhere, for example in supermarkets. Indeed, the number of pharmacies in Italy is limited by the Authorities, the competition between them is limited at best and they will not lower the standard price of drugs even when this is allowed by the law.

Pharmacists obviously do not agree, and recently the Parliament scrapped from the yearly Competition Bill a provision to liberalize the sale of counter drugs.

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