Today marks the first day, under a revised law, that allows stores other than drugstores or pharmacies to begin selling certain types of medicines / drugs.
The Yomiuri newspaper had this to comment about today’s commencement of the new practice:
Paraphrasing, “Convenience stores now able to sell drugs, the revised drug law begins. With the commencement of the law revision it is now possible for the convenience stores, supermarkets and other stores to sell medical supplies including medicines / drugs without having a pharmacist on the premises.
The major chain, 7 Eleven, started sales in their Kojimachi store at 3am today, 1st June 2009, and will be making them available to customers 24 hours a day, on an experimental basis. The drugs that can be sold are those which are said to have a low risk of side-effects, such as cold and pain relief medicine. Instead of having a pharmacist present, there is now a system of having a sales person registered who is responsible.
Up until now, 7 Eleven had 20 stores where they had a pharmacist present to sell drugs. With the law revision they expect staff to gain the qualification required to be registered and then increase the number of stores.”
Link to Yomiuri newspaper original article (in Japanese)
It is yet to be seen how many other chains will follow suit here and how quickly consumers will take to the 24 hour availability of medicines. This is certain to be another area where convenience stores will compete to gain loyalty from their customers.
If I need some weaksauce ibuprofen, or some cough medicine, I expect to be able to walk into a convenience store and grab it, at any time of day. This will be more useful to me — assuming all the chains pick it up, and it's widespread — than having boxer shorts at the convini ever has been.
any time of a day ??? !!!!. I can be lucky if the drug store is open from 10 am until 4 pm. European shopping hours sometimes are so pathetic compared to those of Japan
It will take a while for all the chains to work out how they are going to roll this out, and then not every store will be making medicines available. Once the consumers start buying the products though, the stores will realise this is a good source of revenue and stock the shelves.
I don't think I've seen those type of things in ours over here, but I could be mistaken. Just makes for better competition over there in case you wake up in the middle of the night feeling ill and don't want to go to a full grocery store you'll end up buying more.
Have a great week 🙂
thanks. the sales of drugs / medicines has been increasing year on year. This probably is part of the reason why convenience store chains have lobbied to have the law changed so that they can sell them and get in on the action 🙂 competition indeed. またね
Matte mashita! I remember back in 2003, I had a terrible headache because Spring was starting. "No problem," I said to my recently-arrived-in-Japan self, "I'll just stroll over to Lawson's and get some aspirin." Boy, was I shocked to discover I had to go to a pharmacy to get it.
Times change, but it takes a while sometimes. They have been debating this law for a long time and it was actually passed some time ago. Looks like next time you have a headache in the middle of the night, Lawson might be able to help you out. Better find a store that has a registered employee with the scheme, because not all stores will be carrying medicines just yet. 🙂
Yeah, this always drove me crazy. It's been a long time coming!