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July/ August 1999 - Volume 2 - Issue 6

Are You Using Non-Prescription Medicines Correctly?

People who walk into pharmacies and other outlets nowadays have more medication choices than ever before. Whether you're selecting a product to relieve pain or to treat some other ailment, more and more medications are featured right on the store shelves-available without a doctor's prescription. While this makes it easy for people to get the medications they need, many people don't know they should treat these non-prescription medications just as seriously as prescriptions from their doctor. Like any medicine, these products work best only if you're using the one that is right for you.

Recently, the American Pharmaceutical Association (AphA), the nation's leading society of pharmacists, conducted a survey to determine what people thing about non-prescription pain relievers. The surveyed showed that most people were not reading product labels, they didn't know the benefits or the risks of what they were taking, and they weren't asking their pharmacist about the medications they purchase.

To help consumers make responsible , informed choices about non-prescription medications, AphA and McNeil Consumer Helthcare, makers of TYLENOL and Motrin IB, have created the Partnership for Self-Care. Through consumer outreach and pharmacist education, the Partnership will help consumers make responsible choices and use non-prescription medications correctly.

"Non-prescription medications play a valuable role in healthcare. When taken as directed, they're effective, safe, cost-efficient and convenient, but many consumers may not view non-prescription pain relievers as serious medicines," says John Gans, executive vice president, APhA. "There's no better time for pharmacists to take a leadership role in advising consumers about non-prescription medications and selecting what is best for them."

Components featured in the campaign include consumer brochures and posters reminding the public to speak with their pharmacist about non-prescription medications. Educational materials with the latest scientific data were distributed to over 50,000 pharmacists. "As the leader in the non-prescription medication industry, McNeil is proud to work with the Apha to provide pharmacies with tools to help consumers make smart, responsible choices for themselves and their families," says Tony Vernon, president of McNeil Consumer Healthecare.

So next time you are buying non-prescription medicines at the pharmacy, remember to read the product label, know the benefits and risks of what you're taking and talk to your pharmacist if you have any questions. Your answers to questions are only a few feet away.

~ Source: North American Precis Syndicate, Inc. Chrysler Building, 59th Floor, 405 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10174. Visit their website

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