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Pharmacists, convenience store owners in dispute over OTC drugs
  • By So Jae-hyeon
  • Published 2018.08.02 15:32
  • Updated 2018.08.02 15:32
  • comments 0

The group of Korean pharmacists and that of convenience store owners are slamming each other over the government’s plan to expand the list of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs at convenience stores.

After the Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) announced its opposition to the government’s scheme and warned of OTC drug abuse, the Korea Association of Convenience Stores (KACS) released a rebuttal statement on Tuesday to claim that the KPA was distorting facts.

According to the KACS, pharmacists made an unreasonable claim that it was okay to sell the same medicine at a pharmacy but dangerous at a convenience store.

The KACS argued that even though the KPA recently held a rally under the pretext of protecting the public health, the pharmacists’ real intention was to oppose the expansion of OTC drugs at convenience stores. The KPA’s claim that non-prescription drug sales at convenience stores raised adverse drug reactions was not valid, according to the KACS.

In response, the KPA published a counter statement on Wednesday.

The pharmacists’ group made sharp remarks, saying convenience store owners should “abandon their greed for pharmaceutical sales and better take care of their franchises.”

“The headquarters of the convenience stores came under criticism for charging excessive fees, at 30-35 percent of sales, for the franchisees. Their representative group KACS has publicly shown its greed for pharmaceutical products, but the group is only trying to dispel the criticism,” the KPA said. “They proved their ignorance by saying that the side effects of OTC drug sales at convenience stores were not significant.”

The KPA added that one single case of an adverse drug reaction could seriously threaten the public health, which should not be taken lightly.

According to the KPA’s study, 43.5 percent of consumers are not aware of the side effects of non-prescription medicines sold at convenience stores. After convenience stores were allowed to sell OTC drugs, 10.1 percent of consumers took such medication more often, the KPA said.

“According to the Pharmaceutical Policy Research Institute, 71.1 percent of convenience stores selling OTC drugs violated the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law by selling more drugs than they should, and 20.4 percent of the stores did not comply with 24-hour business hours. However, their headquarters are not making efforts enough to correct this,” the KPA said.

It went on to say, “The KACS should give up its selfish desire to sell pharmaceutical products. Instead, it should lower excessive fees for franchisees and limit the number of franchises in nearby areas.”


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