Some over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, such as paracetamol, are being substituted for alternatives in supermarket home deliveries if the item ordered is out of stock, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said yesterday (October 14).
Such practices may be “putting customers at risk”, as substitutions “have, on occasion, contained different or additional ingredients to those originally ordered”, the RPS said. It has written to the British Retail Consortium to alert the organisation to the issue, it added.
“Without clear and explicit messaging to explain this to customers, such substitutions could cause a serious risk to health, especially among those who cannot tolerate or may be allergic to a specific ingredient,” the RPS added.
C+D asked the RPS for details on which supermarket pharmacy chains are involved and how many incidences it has been made aware of. However, the RPS was unable to provide further information , although a spokesperson told C+D yesterday that the organisation had been “made aware of [the] issues by our members”.
RPS president Sandra Gidley said it is “vital that robust safety procedures for the sale of OTC medicines are in place,” as online shopping deliveries has become more commonplace as a result of COVID-19.
“We are calling on all retailers to review their processes and staff training to ensure that only like-for-like substitutions of medicines can take place as part of home deliveries,” she added.