Policy Principles for Self-Care

Self-care is the first step and first choice in healthcare. In order for citizens and societies to be in a position to take full advantage of self-care's potential benefits, the following policy principles need to be considered in policy design and decision making:

1. Distinguishing the different status of prescription and non-prescription medicines and supporting switches to non-prescription status whenever the necessary legal and safety conditions are fulfilled.

2. Detailed and easy-to-understand information should be available to consumers.

3. Accessibility to self-care products must be ensured with clear distribution rules, support of the role of pharmacists and better visibility of products at the points of sale.

4. Consumers should be able to get information with advertising through the communication channels they prefer, be it in specialised written press, public display, TV, or digital media. 

5. Consistent branding should be encouraged in order to help the consumer navigate through available products.

6. Producers should be allowed to engage in competitive pricing in order for the self-care market to function without distortions.

7. Stakeholders and institutions should actively engage in research on the role, importance and efficiency of self-care in Europe’s healthcare systems in order to define appropriate regulation and incentives to promote innovation.