In a posting the other day, BLOG I wrote about being sold 3 packs of paracetamol in a discount store, when in Chemists they will only sell you or I 2 packs, well I got a reply from the MHRA. It reads as follows.
Thank you for your enquiry about the sales of paracetamol:
The legal position regarding paracetamol is as follows:
Packs containing up to 16 solid dose tablets or capsules of paracetamol or up to 30 effervescent tablets of paracetamol may be supplied in non-pharmacy retail outlets.
Packs containing up to 32 solid dose tablets or capsules of paracetamol and any pack size of effervescent forms of paracetamol can be sold in pharmacies without prescription.
There is no legal restriction on the number of packs that can be purchased in a single transaction provided the total amount of solid dose tablets or capsules containing paracetamol does not exceed 100 tablets (at which point the medicine becomes subject to prescription control).
The MHRA strongly discourages multiple sales and multibuy promotions for painkillers and has worked closely with stakeholders representing both large and small retailers, pharmacists, trading standards offices and the pharmaceutical industry to develop guidance on Best practice on the sale of medicines for pain relief. The guidance is provided at the link below:
The guidance outlines that no more than two packs should be sold in one transaction and discourages retailers from promoting offers that encourage the sale of more than one pack at a time. The guidance actually covers solid dose forms, such as tablets and capsules but retailers have discretion in how they implement the guidance and take account of safety issues relating to medicines for pain relief .
The majority of retailers adhere to these guidelines on not promoting multiple purchases and have introduced in store measures such as till bars that restrict sale of painkillers to a maximum of 2 packs of 16 tablets/capsules. We are aware that a small number of discount retailers do not adhere to these guidelines and the MHRAremains concerned about multiple sales of analgesics in these outlets. The MHRA has written to all companies they are aware of to inform them about the guidance. As there is no breach of legislation by selling 3 packs in 1 transaction, the MHRA is unable to take any further action.
I think this loophole needs tightening up, it seems rather unfair that some should be able to do what they like and others stick to the guidelines.