Introducing SAHPRA’s Online Directory for Over-The-Counter Medicines

By Danélia Botes

October 19, 2023

The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has announced a new online directory of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Optimised for mobile use, this directory includes all registered over-the-counter medicines in Schedule 0, 1, and 2. It serves as an essential guide for the general public and medical professionals.

Enhancing One’s Capability to Access Crucial Information

The team first introduced the online directory on January 6th, 2021, with a planned launch in May 2021. The directory aims to provide detailed information from the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) for all registered over-the-counter products. These products include commercially available complementary medicines in South Africa, but only after their registration. If a PIL isn’t available yet, the directory will use the Professional Information (PI) instead. 

Together with the Self-Care Association of South Africa, SAHPRA have worked to compile this directory. The system will provide a secure login to every over-the-counter medicine manufacturer. The Responsible Pharmacist or any designated company representative can use this login. They will have the ability to input all relevant approved PILs for their OTC items. If a PIL isn’t available, they can enter the PI. The system will already have the names of these items loaded.

Streamlining Access to Essential Information

Users are able to swiftly and easily locate the information they require thanks to the extensive search feature provided by the SAHPRA OTC online directory. It will be possible to conduct searches in the SAHPRA OTC online directory by making reference to:

  • therapeutic category or pharmacological categorisation,
  • product name; or
  • active ingedient, such as paracetamol and aspirin.

The platform is not meant to be utilised for marketing-related activities. The only logo or branding that will be allowed is that of the SAHPRA, hence no other logos or brands will be allowed.

The introduction of this online database is a significant step toward achieving greater transparency, accountability, and accessibility in the field of healthcare.

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