Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are medicines that you can buy without a prescription. All OTC medicines are sold at pharmacies. In addition, a selection of OTC medicines is available in shops which have been authorised by the Danish Health and Medicines Authority to sell OTC medicines.
When the Danish Health and Medicines Authority evaluates whether an OTC medicine is suitable for sale outside pharmacies, we consider:
- whether the medicine can be used by consumers without the advice given at pharmacies
- the risk of abusing or using the medicine incorrectly.
OTC medicines can be bought in authorised shops
If you have turned 15, you can buy OTC medicines in dispensing groups HF, HX or HV (explained below) outside pharmacies. And when you have turned 18, you can also buy OTC medicines in dispensing groups HX18 outside pharmacies.
HF means that you can buy as many packages of the medicine you want.
HX means that, outside pharmacies, you can only buy one package of each of the medicines which are listed in the Danish Health and Medicines Authority's register of authorised medicines in dispensing group HX.
Note that if there are several medicines with the same active substances included in dispensing group HX, you can only buy one package of a medicine containing that active substance per day.
HX medicines are only available in small pack sizes outside pharmacies.
HX18 means the same as HX, with the sole difference that you must have turned 18 to buy painkillers in this group
HV means that the medicine is for veterinary use (for animals).
List of OTC medicines
Here you can find a list of OTC medicines (in Danish only): ikke-apoteksforbeholdte håndkøbslægemidler (Excel-fil). The list is updated daily.
You can sort it by, i.a.:
- Medicinal product
- Pharmaceutical form
- Dispensing group (HF, HX, HX18 and HV).
In a few cases, the list does not contain information about packages.
The outlet must offer a basic range of products
Outlets are not expected to offer all OTC medicines, but the Danish Health and Medicines Authority does require outlets to offer a basic range of products. At a minimum, they must sell medicines from the following product groups:
- disinfecting sore throat lozenges
- nicotine chewing gum
- chewing tablets for excess stomach acid
- tablets for motion sickness
- expectorants (for cough).
However, this does not apply if the outlet has permission to sell smoking cessation products only.