After the thalidomide tragedy in the 1960s the Medicines Act 1968 was introduced. The Act established three categories of medical drugs according to their dangers and the risk of misuse.
Categorie A includes prescription only medicines which are administred with direction of a medical practitioner. With the exeception of the drugs set out in Schedule 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Act Regulations 2001, all controlled drugs are prescription only medicines.
Categorie B are pharmacy medicines which may be sold in a pharmacy or at least under the supervision of a pharmacist.
Categorie C are general sales list medicines which may be sold or supplied in unopened maufacturer's pack from any lockable stores.