Pharmacists set up 24-hour hotline

The Austrian Pharmacists’ Chamber has set up an around-the-clock telephone hotline.The service, reachable under the number 1455 at local rate seven days a week, 24 hours a day, is an attempt to offer competent advice regarding drugs and medication.Social Democratic (SPÖ) Health Minister Alois Stöger praised the initiative. “It’s great that the service provides tips from experts,” the minister said, adding that he appreciated the benefits for blind people offered by the phone service.”Packages feature the name of the drug in Braille alphabet but the package leaflets do not,” Gerhard Höllerer of the Austrian Society for the Blind pointed out.The new hotline means Austria finally seems to fulfil European Union (EU) criteria for barrier-free access to information about various drugs after a law was imposed five years ago.The telephone service may also take off some pressure from Austria’s 1,280 pharmacies. Branch representatives stressed 330 of them are on night duty to provide people with subscribed drugs or urgently needed information.