WHO ARE WE (MECOFARMA)?
Mecofarma is a network of pharmacies authorized and certified in the retail of medicinal products for human use, including herbal and homeopathic medicines, and health products (including cosmetic and body care products, medical devices) in Angola.
HOW DOES MECOFARMA ENSURE THAT THE MEDICAL PRODUCTS IT SELLS ARE SAFE, EFFECTIVE AND OF QUALITY?
Mecofarma carries out a careful evaluation of all medicines before they are placed on the market, it carries out periodic visits to production or distribution establishments of medicines. And it promotes up-to-date and reliable information to consumers and health professionals.
WHO ARE WE (MECOVET)?
Mecofarma also includes Mecovet, a network of authorized petshops for the retail of non-human medicines, animal food, hygiene and beauty products, pet toys and accessories.
WHAT IS A MEDICAL PRESCRIPTION?
A prescription of a particular medicinal product for human use by a medical professional is considered a prescription.
WHAT MAKES A PRESCRIPTION VALID?
A prescription is valid for up to 30 days.
The prescription to be valid must contain the letterhead of the clinic, hospital or health center and its stamp with the doctor's signature (legible) or the stamp with the doctor's initials and the doctor's registration number (legible) if a prescription drug is prescribed.
IS A MEDICAL PRESCRIPTION NEEDED FOR ALL MEDICINES?
No. Mandatory prescription depends on the classification of the medicines: prescription drugs (MSRM – Medicinal products subject to medical prescription) or Over-the-Counter OTC Medicines.
Prescription drugs are those that can only be dispensed at the pharmacy by presenting the prescription issued by professionals properly qualified to prescribe medicines (doctors).
WHY ARE THERE DRUGS THAT CAN ONLY BE OBTAINED WITH A MEDICAL PRESCRIPTION?
Because, if used without medical supervision, they may directly or indirectly represent a health risk, even when used for the purpose for which they are intended.
They may also contain substances or preparations based on these substances whose activity and / or side effects need to be controlled. Other types of prescription-only medicines are parenterals, ie injectables, and medicines that are often used in large quantities for purposes other than those for which they are intended.
WHAT ARE NON-PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES?
A non-prescription medicine-sometimes called an over-the-counter, or OTC are medicines that can be obtained without a prescription and are intended for the treatment of minor health problems.
Non-prescription medicines should be used according to the information on the package and in the information leaflet. Therefore, never discard packages and information leaflets. Always store them together with the medicine and ask your pharmacist for advice if necessary.
IN WHICH SITUATIONS SHOULD I CONSULT A DOCTOR?
Whenever symptoms persist for more than five days or worsen after taking Non-prescription Drugs. In these circumstances you should call your doctor.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED?
- Valid prescription
- Valid insurance card
- Identification document: ID, Driver's License Passport, Birth Certificate (newborn). Birth certificate (child up to 8 years - exception ENSA children up to 14 years).
The name that appears in the prescription must match the accompanying identification document.
WHAT IS THE REIMBERSEMENT?
Reimbursement will vary depending on insurance coverage.
If the insurer's reimbursement for the drug is 100%, you have nothing to pay. If the reimbursement is less than 100% you must pay the difference. In this case an invoice is issued to the insurer to the value of the reimbursement and an invoice to the client to the value of the co-payment
The products reimbursed by the insurer are the sole responsibility of the insurer, the pharmacy only complies with the indications given. There may be medicines that are covered by one insurer and not by another.
WHAT ARE MEDICATIONS?
Substances or compositions of substances which have properties curing or preventing diseases and their symptoms in humans or animals, in order to establish a medical diagnosis or to restore, correct or modify their bodily functions.
WHAT IS A GENERIC DRUG?
Generic drugs are copies of brand-name drugs that have exactly the same dosage, intended use, effects, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug. In other words, their pharmacological effects are exactly the same as those of their brand-name counterparts.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A GENERIC DRUG?
Generic drugs are identified by the acronym EFG Pharmaceutical Generic Equivalent amount, included in the outer carton of the drug.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF GENERIC DRUGS?
These are medicinal products whose active substances have been on the market for several years and which, for this reason, have a greater guarantee of effectiveness. Generic drugs, therefore, have the same quality, efficacy and safety at a lower price than the original product.
WHAT INFORMATION CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE PACKAGING OF MEDICINES?
- Name of the medicinal product;
- Composition and active substances;
- Pharmaceutical form;
- Mode and route of administration;
- Shelf life, including month and year;
- Number of the manufacturing batch;
- Name and address of the person responsible for the marketing authorization;
- Classification of the medicinal product
- Where applicable: The period of use after the reconstitution of the medicinal product or opening of the container for the first time and precautions for storage and disposal.
WHAT INFORMATION IS INCLUDED IN THE INFORMATION LEAFLETS ACCOMPANYING THE MEDICINES?
The package leaflet is composed of written information which is intended for the user and comes with the medication.
The package leaflet must contain the following information:
- Name of the medicine;
- Therapeutic indications;
- Mode and route of administration;
- usual dosage, with reference to the maximum dose;
- Indication of the best time to take the drug;
- Duration of the average treatment, when it should be limited;
- Contraindications, more frequent or serious side effects, and actions to be taken if they occur;
- Interaction with other medicinal and other products;
- Effects on pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly and patients with special pathologies;
- Special precautions for use;
- Qualitative and quantitative composition of the active substances;
- Pharmaceutical form;
- Pharmacotherapeutic category or type of activity, in terms easily understood by the patient;
- Effects on the ability to drive and use machines;
- Name and address of the person responsible for the marketing authorization;
- List of excipients known to be necessary for the proper use of the medicinal product and all excipients should be indicated in the case of injectable products, preparations for topical application and eye drops;
- Instructions on what to do when the administration of one or more doses is missed;
- Indication of how to suspend treatment if it causes withdrawl effects;
- Measures to be taken in case of overdose and / or intoxication, including symptoms, emergency measures and antidotes;
- Advice to the user to inform the doctor or pharmacist of the undesirable effects detected and which are not included in the leaflet;
- Advising the user to check the expiry date printed on the package or container;
- Special precautions for storage and indication of any visible signs of deterioration, if present;
- Special precautions for the destruction of unused products or residues of medicinal products, where appropriate;
- Date of preparation or latest revision of the leaflet.
HOW TO TAKE MEDICATIONS SAFELY?
Take the medication as directed, with regard to times, dose, duration of treatment and what to do if you forget to take one.
Always inform your doctor or pharmacist of the medicines you are taking, if you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.
Try to learn about the medicines you are taking by reading the accompanying leaflet (package leaflet) and the doctor's or pharmacist's explanations.
Keep the medicine in its original packaging, following the instructions for storage.
Always check the expiration date.
WHAT IS AN ADVERSE REACTION TO THE MEDICINE?
An adverse drug reaction (ADR) is a harmful and unintended response to one or more medications.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TABLETS, SUGAR COATED TABLETS AND CAPSULES?
Tablets: Obtained by compressing a powder. The air present between the particles is withdrawn, resulting in a solid product. The digestion of the drug begins already in the stomach. The sublingual versions are designed to dissolve with saliva, so that the active ingredients are absorbed by the oral mucosa, passing directly into the bloodstream, accelerating its effect.
Sugar coated tablets: These are tablets covered in sugar or some polymer derived from cellulose. This kind of coating serves to protect the active substance from air, light and moisture, as well as slow down the digestion of the drug.
In some situations, coating is necessary for the release to occur only in the gut.
Capsules: Contains the drug wrapped in a coating of gelatin (similar to the jelly which is bought in the supermarket for domestic consumption), which may or may not receive colouring. This gelatin serves to preserve the medicine from air, moisture and light, the capsules are digested in the stomach.
CAN TABLETS BE CUT?
No. No tablet should be broken, especially if it is coated. This is because this layer serves both to protect it from the external environment and to avoid degradation of the active substance. In addition, this type of manipulation changes the dosage.
Acquiring a higher dosage and breaking the tablet it in order to take a lower dosage is not advisable. Studies show that even using cutting equipment, there is a difference in the dosage of each half. Before cutting, it is important to consult your doctor or pharmacist.
For prolonged-release medicines - which release the active substance over a longer period - it may be even more risky to split these tablets, because you run the risk of ingesting a dose much higher than the correct one.
The rule also applies to drugs that already come with a crease, as they suffer losses also due to crumbling.
CAN CAPSULES BE OPENED?
No. The outside serves as a protection for the active substance. If you have difficulty getting this type of medication, consult your doctor to consider your options.
WHERE CAN I STORE THE MEDICINES?
They should be stored away from sources of heat, moisture and light. Within their respective boxes and always accompanied by the package leaflet. Medicines should be taken from the aluminum blister only at the time of administration.
If you use a lot of different medicines and you use a pill box with all the medicines together, you should be aware of the hygiene of the support. Ideally, medications should be organized for at most one week. When the drug is withdrawn from the wrapper, it loses stability. The expiry date stated on the carton relates to that package.
DO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES INTERFERE WITH DRUG TAKING?
Alcohol consumption can interfere with the action of medications, which, like beverages, are metabolized in the liver. In the case of antibiotics, it is advisable not to consume any type of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol increases the elimination of antibiotics. A certain concentration of the drug must be maintained in the blood within a certain period of time, and alcohol accelerates this elimination, reducing its effectiveness. The combination may enhance the effects of some medications, which is what happens with certain allergy drugs and tranquilizers.
DO ANTIBIOTICS DECREASE THE EFFECT OF CONTRACEPTIVES?
Some substances alter the gut bacteria which are important to the desired effect of contraceptives. Ampicillin and amoxicillin are some of the drugs that may have this effect.
SHOULD MEDICATION BE TAKEN AT SPECIFIC TIMES?
As a rule, there is no ideal schedule. The important thing is to take the medication as directed by the doctor, especially with antibiotics. It should be taken for the length of time stipulated by the physician, so as not to reduce the efficacy.
IS IT BETTER TO TAKE MEDICATION ON AN EMPTY STOMACH OR WITH MEALS?
This advice should be given by the doctor and can be backed up by the pharmacist at the time of purchase as it will vary according to the substance.
Some medications may have their absorption impaired when taken with the meal and others may cause gastric irritation if taken on an empty stomach. Ferrous sulphate and antibiotics, for example, work best when taken after the meal. If the recommendation is to take the medication on an empty stomach, the medication should be taken one hour before the meal or two hours after it.
SHOULD MEDICATION BE TAKEN ONLY WITH WATER?
It depends on the medication. Most should only be ingested with water. You should consult your doctor or pharmacist as, in some cases, milk or juice may cause the medicine to not be absorbed properly. When in doubt, take with water.
IF I MISS A DOSAGE, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Take it as soon as you remember, but never double the dosage.
WHAT ARE VETERINARY MEDICINES?
It is all medicine intended for animals.
Veterinary medicinal products also help increase the nutritional quality of products of animal origin.
Some diseases of animal origin are transmissible to humans, both to the owner of the animal and to the consumer. Most of these diseases have been controlled by advances in veterinary science and the development of veterinary drugs.
WHAT ARE MEDICAL DEVICES?
Medical devices include healthcare innovations, medical equipment, and tools and services. They ranging e from everyday items like sticking plasters, syringes or spectacles, to specialised equipment like wheelchairs and hearing aids. The devices include extremely high- tech equipment such as pacemakers, smart contact lenses robotics, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners and artificial limbs are also medical devices. They can help in treating many health issues people might face, from skin grazes to poor eye sight, as well as helping those with contraception, and from diabetes and to heart disease.
Designed by the manufacturer to be used in humans for the purpose of:
- Diagnosis, prevention, control, treatment or alleviating the effects of a disease;
- Diagnosis, control, treatment, attenuation or compensation of an injury or disability;
- Study, replacement or alteration of the anatomy or physiological process;
- Design control.
WHAT TO DO IF AN UNDESIRABLE EFFECT OCCURS AFTER USING A COSMETIC?
The user should preferably contact a dermatologist, physician, pharmacist or other health care professional.