Celebrating 40 years of reclassification

Today, PAGB celebrated a milestone event for the consumer healthcare industry – 40 years of reclassification.

Since 1983, the reclassification of prescription medicines to make them available over-the-counter has delivered huge benefits for patients, pharmacy and the healthcare system. PAGB were delighted to bring together industry leaders, experts and our members at a special celebratory event to mark the occasion, hearing all about the positive impact reclassification has had in patient healthcare in the last four decades and the exciting future of switch for medicines in the UK.

Michelle Riddalls, CEO of PAGB, the consumer healthcare association, shared: “In the 40 years since the first reclassification, the UK has come a long way in improving access to medicines and medical devices. From the first medicines to go through MHRA’s switch process in 1983 (…) the UK OTC medicines environment has developed rapidly, leading to greater patient treatment innovation and choice. As a result, reclassification has transformed the ability for patients to take control of their health and manage their self-treatable conditions.”

Following a welcome address from Michelle, the keynote speech was delivered by Dr June Raine, MHRA Chief Executive, who shared an insightful summary on the lessons we can take away on reclassification from the past 40 years, how we can feed these learnings into the Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care, and what’s next for reclassification.

We also heard from some of our members, including Maxwellia, Reckitt, Sanofi and Viatris on the process and benefits for consumers of reclassifying products in their portfolio, as well as community pharmacist Mark Burdon with the pharmacy perspective on bringing the benefits of switch to life.

To wrap up the event, our compere, Dr Hilary Jones, led a panel discussion and Q&A with PAGB, MHRA and pharmacy experts on the challenges, opportunities and impacts the future of switching holds.

Thank you to everyone who attended and joined in celebrating this milestone in reclassification. Together we can ensure the next 40 years delivers the same significant benefits for the public, the NHS, pharmacy and the wider economy.

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