The Health Products Regulatory Authority has said there are 12 active substances contained in medicines currently classified as prescription-only that could be safely made available for over-the-counter sale.

It could potentially result in 34 medicines being sold through pharmacies without prescription.

The type of drugs involved are medicines for migraine, acid-reflux, hay fever, cold sores, muscle pain, inflammation, fungal skin and nail infections and other inflammatory skin conditions.

The authority is seeking expressions of interest from drug companies, who hold marketing licences for these medicines, to apply to reclassify them for over-the-counter sale.

It hopes to begin these discussions in the coming weeks.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority was formerly the Irish Medicines Board.