Gordon Birtwistle (Burnley, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to reduce the level of regulation governing the sale of motion sickness tablets for the purpose of improving access.
Simon Burns (Minister of State (Health), Health; Chelmsford, Conservative)
The Government are keen to increase access to medicines, in the interest of public health, when it is acceptably safe to do so. To this end, as part of the Better Regulation of Medicines Initiative, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is developing proposals to simplify and speed the regulatory process that supports reclassification from prescription only to pharmacy or general sale availability.
The vast majority of medicines authorised for the prevention or treatment of travel sickness are classified as P medicines, which means they can be sold or supplied without prescription from registered pharmacy premises by or under the supervision of a pharmacist. The involvement of a qualified health care professional helps to ensure these medicines are used safely and effectively.
For a medicine such as those for motion sickness to be available as a GSL (general sales list) medicine on self-selection in general retail outlets, Ministers must be satisfied that it can be used safely without the involvement of a pharmacist. A company may, at any time, submit to the MHRA an application to reclassify a product from P to GSL which would need to demonstrate that access to professional advice is not required for the safe use of the medicine.