2o OTC & Cosmetics Conference:
"The benefits of Self-medication for Citizens and Economy"

Panel 1

The role of the pharmacist in self-medication

Self-care refers to peoples’ actions to reach and maintain their personal health as well as to prevent and care of a disease. It includes:

  • Hygiene (personal and general)
  • Nutrition (the type and quality of food)
  • Lifestyle (sports)
  • Environmental factors (living conditions, social habits)
  • Socioeconomic factors (income level, cultural aspects)
  • Self-medication
  • Self-medication is the selection and use of drugs by the patients, in order to treat diseases or symptoms. The role of the pharmacist in self-medication is crucial.


The pharmacy moves towards into becoming a health unit, that operates 24 hours 24-hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The pharmacist is the community’s scientist and his effect has multiple aspects:

  • He offers advice on managing symptoms and health problems, suggesting drugs that do not require a prescription.
  • He provides first aid emergencies
  • He educates the public. Promotes health by informing on health issues for seasonal diseases and infections and allergies
  • He offers nutritional advice
  • He suggests supplements, preventing multi-drug and the use of substances that can cause problems
  • He offers the possibility of diagnostic tests (such as measurement of blood pressure)
  • He promotes the responsible use of medicines
  • He contributes to public awareness campaigns for the protection of public health

Panel 2

OTC Market in Greece: Obstacles, Prospects, Trends

Self-medication is the use of non-prescription drugs (OTC) by patients to treat mild symptoms and health problems.

The development of self-medication by using OTC can have significant benefits for citizens, Social Security and the Greek economy in general.

According to current estimates, OTC in our country in 2015 is about 407 million Euros, with a 12.5% increase compared to 2014. This fact shows the great potential of the sector, despite the economic downturn.

It is also worth mentioning that 60% of OTC drugs are produced in Greece. The promotion of OTC drugs will create the conditions to boost the domestic investment and improve the labor market.

Unfortunately, the so-called “release” of OTC drugs in the supermarkets has caused confusion to the public concerning self-medication.

Therefore, the conference’s aim is to dispel those myths about self-medication, to reveal the truth about the use of OTC.

Furthermore, new data and proposals concerning OTC’s market growth prospects in our country will be analyzed in the conference:

  • removing bureaucratic obstacles and disincentives
  • regular updating of OTC focusing on conversion of prescription medicines to OTC, if safety conditions are met
  • simplification of regulatory procedures
  • developing educational programs jointly with the pharmaceutical industry

The government decided in the summer to define the so-called GEDIFA (General Medicines Distribution), which represent only 13% of OTC and they can be sold outside pharmacies. At the same time, the government set strict conditions for the disposal of them inside supermarkets and grocery stores. However, we are not aware yet of how the new provisions in practice will be implemented.

Panel 3

The creative sales in cosmetics: Necessity or Challenge?