Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Minister for Health (a) whether HSA intends to make available any therapeutic drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 over the counter; and (b) if so, what are the drugs that are currently under evaluation for this purpose.

Mr Ong Ye Kung:  A medicine could be made available over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription if the ailment it treats can be self-diagnosed and the medicine is safe and appropriate for self-use without healthcare professional supervision.

All medicines presently authorised for the treatment of COVID-19 are Prescription-only Medicines to be used under medical supervision and monitoring. Most of these medicines need to be injected into patients. The oral medicines carry potential risks of serious side effects and interactions with other medicines. Hence, a medical assessment by a doctor is needed first to confirm the diagnosis of COVID-19, and to then weigh the benefits and risks of initiating a given medicine for the specific patient, taking into account any pre-existing medical conditions. This is to ensure that the treatment is safe and suitable for the patient and that the risks of any adverse effects are minimised.

Ministry of Health
10 January 2022


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