Following the application of a new Italian government ruling blocking the price of certain medicines until 2007, the Anti-Trust, the authority responsible for overseeing competition and fair play, has suggested that over-the-counter items such as aspirins and cough syrups, which are currently only on sale in pharmacies, should be sold in supermarkets, as already happens in some European countries such as Great Britain. The Anti-Trust has also suggested that single or small doses of medicines should be put on sale so that customers are not forced to buy unnecessarily large amounts.
When the new government ruling was introduced, the minister of health asked pharmacists to reduce the price of patent medicines and medicines that do not require a prescription. At the same time he ordered that category "C" medicines, those that require a doctors prescription but are wholly paid for by the patient, should be listed clearly in the pharmacy by content and dosage, so that patients can choose between a "patent" named drug or, the usually cheaper, generic equivalent.
The federation of pharmacists suggests that discounts on medicines should be applied by the drug manufacturers rather than the pharmacies.