Responsible Use of Medicines. A Layman's Handbook by the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA)
(2015; 110 pages)


Medicine safety is an issue of prime importance. There is a lot of ignorance amongst the public about the proper or safe use of medicines. A very large percentage of people are ignorant about various aspects of medicines – care to be taken while purchasing, how they affect us, their proper storage, how they need to be correctly taken, at what times and for how long, what precautions to take while on medication, what happens if we do not use them properly, about side effects, drug interactions, etc. According to the W.H.O., more than half of the patients do not take their medicines appropriately.

Irrational use of medicines leads to so many ill consequences – improper treatment, under effects, side effects, and this ultimately leads to delayed recovery, continuance of agonies and discomforts, often increased expenses, hospitalizations, and even premature deaths.

Medicines are like a double edged sword – of great benefit if used correctly, but can cause harm if used incorrectly.

It is strange, but true, that at no point in our lives – during our education or otherwise, are we given any formal or informal basic tips/information about medicines and their proper use.

The IPA (Indian Pharmaceutical Association) has prepared this booklet to put together various simple, yet basic and useful information to help a lay person to move towards "Responsible use of medicines" We hope that, by going through this booklet, one would greatly benefit in increasing one’s knowledge about medicines, and find it useful in everyday life, when encountering medicines for oneself or members of the family.

Pharmacists are there to help out people on their queries regarding medicines, and guide them on their safe usage. Public, therefore, must take advantage of their pharmacists, whether in the retail pharmacies/medical stores or in the hospital.

The term ‘Responsible Use of Medicines’ implies that the activities, capabilities, and existing resources of health system stakeholders are aligned to ensure patients receive the right medicines at the right time, use them appropriately, and benefit from them.

Also the patients and caretakers of the patient are equally responsible to ensure rational therapy by adhering to the instructions of the healthcare professionals. This is turn will benefit the patients.

The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: October 29, 2018