Nairobi News

LifeWhat's Hot

Why you’ll now need doctor’s prescription to buy these common drugs

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has named two common drugs among those that will no longer be sold without proper prescription from a medical practitioner.

The board has warned that codeine, the active ingredient in the drugs, is a controlled substance that can no longer be sold over the counter for risk of abuse and addiction.

Pure codeine is mostly prescribed as a painkiller.

In Kenya, it’s available in Benylin cough syrup and Betapyn tablets, the latter a pain killer headaches, toothaches and joint pains.

These drugs are commonly sold over-the-counter without prescriptions.

The poisons board has also given manufacturers of codeine-based medicines six months to change their packages to include clear and prominently positioned warnings on the label.


The new packages will also include a summary of product characteristics and patient information leaflet about the risk of addiction and the importance of not taking the medicines for longer than three days.

Medicines with codeine have been switched from the Pharmacy Only Medicines (P) category to the Prescription Only Medicine (POM) catogory.

“All prescribers and dispensers should not offer for sale any medicine that contains codeine without a valid prescription from a duly registered medical practitioner,” said the board’s registrar Dr Fred Siyoi.

Valid prescriptions should have patient’s name, address and age, medical practitioner’s name, address, and their registration number and name of medicine.

Other details include strength and their dosage form, quantity prescribed in words and the figures in brackets and the signature of the medical practitioner handwritten using indelible ink.

“Please note that, no refill will be allowed for prescriptions with medicines that contain codeine,” added Dr Siyoi.