In a new circular, the Directorate General of Pharmaceutical Affairs at the Ministry of Health (MoH) has listed more than a dozen infant milk and nutritional formulas that will be sold only at pharmacies against a valid prescription.
Two weeks ago, the directorate general had issued a similar circular banning over the counter sale of Novalac infant formulas.
The latest circular, dated January 19, states: ‘Further to our circular... this is to inform you that the following products are to be sold only through private pharmacies against valid prescription issued by a doctor. Please note that these products are strictly prohibited for distribution and sale through supermarkets and shops due to their medical claims.’
The circular further states that any similar milk formulations for specific medical needs will fall under the same category and should not be sold without a doctor's prescription.
Copies of the circular have been given to the Directorate General of Private Health Affairs, MoH's Department of Nutrition, Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Ministry of Commerce and Industries and ROP's Directorate General of Customs.
They have also been sent to the Directorate General of Public Authority for Consumer Protection, Director of Health Services in Muscat Municipality and the Superintendent of Pharmacy, and medical stores in all governorates.
Muscat Daily had on January 8 reported on an earlier circular that had prohibited the distribution and sale of Novalac AC, Novalac AD, Novalac IT1 & IT2 and Novalac Digest at supermarkets and shops.
A senior MoH official said the latest decision was taken because many of these products come with certain guidelines that are often ignored.
For instance, the official added, parents have been found to continue using certain specialised infant drinks, formulated for ages up to six months, till the baby is a year old.
“This can lead to ailments in the child at a later stage and hence the dosage must be supervised by a medical professional,” she said.
Formulas sold only with a valid prescription
Similac Total Comfort 1 (Abbott)
Similac Gain Total Comfort 2 (Abbott)
Similac Advance HA (Hydrolysed Protein – infant formula) (Abbott)
Isomil 1 Soy Infant Formula (Abbott)
NAN 110 Lactose Free (Nestle Nutrition)
Bebelac LF – Lactose Free (Nutricia)
S-26 HA Gold (Wyeth)
S-26 AR Gold (Wyeth)
S-26 LF Gold (Wyeth)
Nursoy – Soy Protein
Aptamil HN 25 (Milupa)
Aptamil 1 Comfort (Milupa)
Aptamil AR Anti-Regurgitation (Milupa)