Also found in: Acronyms.
behind the counter
Describing a medicinal product that must be dispensed by a pharmacist despite not requiring a doctor's prescription. Such medications are kept in an area that only authorized personnel can access, as behind a pharmacy's counter. Often hyphenated and used before a noun. If that medication has amphetamine in it, I bet it's a behind-the-counter drug. A: "It's not an over-the-counter med? My doctor said I wouldn't need a prescription." B: "You're half right. It's behind the counter, so you don't need a prescription, but you also won't find it on the shelves out here. You have to ask a pharmacist for it."
In a pharmacy, not requiring a prescription but requiring a pharmacist's discretion to purchase, as of drugs or medical devices. Please be aware that all behind-the-counter purchases require identification so the pharmacist can verify your age before purchase.
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