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Hungary allows Novartis, Glaxo to sell drugs outside pharmacies

Hungary's Health Ministry will allow drugmakers including Novartis AG and GlaxoSmithKline Plc to sell certain nonprescription drugs outside pharmacies, making medicine more accessible in the country, Bloomberg reported.

Glaxo's Coldrex treatment and Novartis's Calcium-Sandoz tablets are among 289 over-the-counter products that will be sold in supermarkets, gas stations and other retail outlets. Other products on the list include Wyeth's Advil painkiller and Bayer AG's Alka Seltzer antacid.
The move makes Hungary one of 15 European countries to sell nonprescription drugs outside pharmacies, according to the Association of the European Self-Medication Industry. Hungarians spent €270.5 million on OTC drugs in 2005, about 14% of the total market, the group said.
“The list will be subject to constant revision,” Ágnes Horváth, state secretary at the Health Ministry, said at a press conference today unveiling the list. “The drugs will have to be kept in a closed closet in shops and cannot be sold to children under the age of 14.”