Health Question

How old do you have to be to buy medicine?

There are no legal age restrictions for buying medicines.

However, some retail outlets have their own policies that restrict the sale of medicines to children.

Over-the-counter medicines

Over-the-counter medicines can be bought from pharmacies without a prescription. Some over-the-counter medicines can also be bought from supermarkets and other retail outlets.

These medicines include those used to treat minor illnesses that you may feel are not serious enough to see a Doctor about.

For example:

Read more about medicines.

Over-the-counter medicines for children

Always read the information leaflet inside the packaging to check whether a medicine is suitable for children.

Some medicines should not be given to children – for example, children under 16 should not take aspirin.

You should always check the dosage instructions for children as they are usually different to adults.

There may be some situations where a retail outlet cannot sell a medicine to a child for their use because the medicine is not licensed for children of that age.

For example, some antacid medicines, which relieve heartburn, are only recommended for children aged 12 and over.

Read the answers to more questions about medicines.

Further information: