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6 in 10 readers want to see paracetamol made a P medicine

A C+D poll has shown that 59% of pharmacists believe paracetamol should no longer be sold by non-pharmacy retailers


Almost six in 10 C+D readers believe paracetamol should only be sold in pharmacies, a poll has revealed.

Fifty-nine per cent of 272 respondents to a poll, posted on the C+D website between November 27 and December 1, agreed that paracetamol should no longer be sold by non-pharmacy retailers.

C+D conducted the poll in the wake of its investigation last month that revealed that half of 12 high-street retailers were willing to sell three 16-tablet packs of the drug. Voluntary guidelines by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) state that a maximum of two packs should be sold in a single transaction. 

Poundland, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, 99p Stores, Costcutter and a Londis corner shop were all willing to sell three packs of the analgesic, while the Co-operative Food, Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi, Waitrose and Asda conformed to the MHRA’s best practice limit of two packs.

Pharmacy leaders back change

Pharmacy leaders also backed making paracetamol a pharmacy-only drug. Numark director of pharmacy services Mimi Lau said that, unless the MHRA’s guidelines “are made into law and breaches lead to consequences”, paracetamol sales should be restricted to within pharmacies.

This would ensure the drug can only be brought where appropriate and necessary advice can be exercised”, she said. “Safety of patients has got to be the number one priority,” she stressed.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Ash Soni also argued that, if retailers are not “prepared to change” their practices, then the “ultimate solution has to be that [paracetamol] becomes available only through pharmacy”.

“What’s really important in all cases is that medicines should not be seen as ordinary items of commerce,” he added.

National Pharmacy Association chief pharmacist Leyla Hannbeck told C+D that selling paracetamol in pharmacies is “much more safe” for patients. Pharmacists are regulated and obligated to “ask the right questions” before selling the drug, she added.


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