Government looking to make OTC medicine more accessible

Consumer health interest groups are lining up to oppose the move

In Denmark, over-the-counter medication can only be purchased at the checkout, but soon it may be found on the standard shop shelves along with your bacon and eggs.

The government is looking into the possibility of changing the law so headache pills and nasal sprays can be purchased on a par with other typical shop products.

“I simply can’t understand why the Danes aren’t allowed to stand alone in peace and browse through throat tablets, nicotine chewing gum or other over-the-counter medicine they are considering to buy,” Sophie Løhde, the health minister, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

“In the nations around us, people can choose themselves and it hasn’t led to a significant increase in over-the-counter medicine consumption.”

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Toaster ≠ medication
But a number of interest groups beg to differ. The consumer interest organisation Forbrugerrådet Tænk contends that over-the-counter medication shouldn’t be on par with a bread toaster from a consumer perspective.

The proposal has been accepted by parties in the blue bloc, but Socialistisk Folkeparti, Enhedslisten, Radikale and Alternativet all oppose the move, while Socialdemokratiet remains sceptical and would prefer that the change would only occur in pharmacies – at least to begin with.

In Norway and Sweden, customers are free to pick over-the-counter medicine from the shelves on their own accord.