Self-medication is especially useful in any situation where access to health care facilities is limited. It can offer the advantage of providing quick and effective relief that does not require medical attention, thereby relieving pressure on medical personnel and freeing them to devote more time to serious problems. However, it could lead to inappropriate use of drugs, delay of proper diagnosis and the delivery of effective treatment. It could also lead to drug misuse and abuse. In order to obtain the benefits of self-medication while avoiding its risks, the following steps shall be taken:
i A list of drugs that can be sold without prescription and used for the short-term relief of symptoms, without prior medical consultation and precise diagnosis, shall be drawn up and published by government;
ii Such listed drugs shall satisfy the criteria for the selection of essential drugs, be effective for their condition of use, and have a wide margin of safety;
iii The list shall be reviewed from time to time in the light of experience and available new information;
iv Information on, and the labelling and promotion of drugs, meant for self-medication, shall conform to laws and regulations set out for such categories of drugs;
v Health education to the public on appropriate self-medication shall be provided through the use of print and electronic media, and other communication methods.