Pharmacies threatened with hefty fines if caught selling high-dosage paracetamol and ibuprofen without a prescription

600mg ibuprofen is freely available without a prescription.
600mg ibuprofen is freely available without a prescription. / SUR
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen in 1g and 600mg formats respectively, will no longer be available to buy over the counter

Santander. Pharmacies are facing fines of between 30,000 and 90,000 euros if found to be selling a number of drugs commonplace in most medicine cabinets across the country.

Since February stricter controls have come into force nationwide which mean that the authorities can see exactly what pharmacies are selling.

The law has not changed, however, confirms Rita de la Plaza, president of the Cantabria College of Pharmaceuticals. "[The law] has been like this since 1990." She says that higher doses of many household drugs, including paracetamol (1g), ibuprofen (600mg), as well as a number of stronger antacids and antihistamines "have always required a prescription" but that a number of pharmacies having been selling them despite the potential risks to the patients.

De la Plaza says that the new controls mean that from now on you are unlikely to be able to buy any medication with the "subject to a prescription" label written on it anymore because "no one will want to risk it for the 1.97 euros a box of 600mg ibuprofen costs".