LONDON, December 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
Half of high-street retailers are putting patient safety at risk by ignoring paracetamol sales guidelines, an investigation by Chemist+Druggist, a publication for community pharmacists, has revealed.
Six out of 12 retailers investigated by Chemist+Druggist's undercover reporters were happy to give out three 16-tablet packs of paracetamol, despite MHRA guidelines recommending a maximum of two packs per transaction to minimise stockpiling and accidental or impulsive overdose.
These retailers included 99p Stores, Costcutter Express, Londis, Poundland, Sainsbury's Local and Tesco, revealed the investigation, published on Friday (November 27).
Two of the retailers - Poundland and 99p Stores - further breached the MHRA's voluntary guidelines by running multi-buy offers on paracetamol.
Aldi, Asda, the Co-operative, Lidl, Morrison's and Waitrose all adhered to the MHRA's best practice guidelines.
The MHRA has pledged to contact all companies found to have breached its guidance in Chemist+Druggist's investigation and will speak to the British Retail Consortium to encourage support for the voluntary measures.
The MHRA guidance on analgesics sales was introduced in 2009 to improve patient safety, but is not enforceable. By law, retailers can sell up to 100 tablets of paracetamol without a prescription.
The full version of the feature is available here on the Chemist+Druggist site, and it is free to register. If you would like a breakdown of the investigation without registering, please contact Chemist+Druggist's deputy and features editor Emma Weinbren on firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44-(0)207-921-8072.
Notes to editors:
 Chemist+Druggist visited 12 retailers in Greater London over the course of October and November 2015. None of the branches included pharmacies. The attempted purchase included three packs of paracetamol and at least one non-medicinal retail item. C+D made no attempts to persuade the member of staff to sell three packs.
 MHRA best practice guidance on the sale of medicines for pain relief https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/407287/Appendix_4_-_Blue_Guide.pdf
 Research published by the BMJ in 2013 suggested that reducing the amount of paracetamol sold per transaction can reduce the incidence of overdose
 Please cite Chemist+Druggist when reporting on this story and, wherever possible, link to http://chemistanddruggist.co.uk