In a move to regulate the use and circulation of psychotropic substances, the Ministry of Health has decided to halt the dispensing and sale of Lyrica, a medication containing Pregabalin and Gabapentin, in private pharmacies and private hospital pharmacies. This decision comes following a recommendation from the Joint Committee for Coordinating Work in Implementing the Provisions of Laws No. 74 of 1983 and 48 of 1987, which focuses on combating narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmed Al-Awadi, issued a ministerial decision that transfers Pregabalin and Gabapentin from Table No. 4 to Table No. 2. Table No. 4 allows substances and preparations to be dispensed in both government and private sectors, whereas Table No. 2 restricts dispensing to Ministry of Health facilities only. This decision was made after observing significant increases in the prescription of these substances in certain private sector institutions.

It is important to note that the Minister of Health had previously issued another decision that required the establishment of a central electronic system supervised by the Ministry. This system monitors the recording of prescriptions for psychotropic substances and preparations dispensed from private sector pharmacies. Additionally, private sector pharmacies authorized to trade in psychotropic substance preparations were required to register in the electronic system, following the designated conditions and procedures outlined in the decision.

In accordance with the recent decision, the Minister of Health has requested all pharmacies to cease dispensing and selling prescriptions for preparations containing Pregabalin and Gabapentin in private pharmacies and private hospital pharmacies. This directive will take effect immediately upon the publication of the first decision in the Official Gazette. Affected pharmacies have been granted a grace period of two weeks from the publication of the first ministerial decision to return or destroy any seized quantities of preparations containing the two aforementioned substances.

The Drug Inspection Department has been authorized to seize the available quantities in private sector pharmacies, with the intention of either returning them to the source (the local agent) or destroying them following the approved mechanism outlined by the Ministry of Health. This process must be completed within one month from the publication of the first ministerial decision.

The Assistant Undersecretary for Pharmaceutical Control Affairs has been tasked with submitting a detailed report on the implementation of these measures. This decision to halt the dispensing and sale of Lyrica in private pharmacies aims to ensure the proper regulation and control of psychotropic substances. It aligns with the recommendations of the International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations and the Joint Committee responsible for enforcing laws related to narcotics and psychotropic substances.

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