Molloy, P and Chambers, R and Cork, T (2016) How well are national guidelines relating to the general sales of aspirin and paracetamol, adhered to by retail stores: a mystery shopper study. BMJ Open, 6 (1). e010081 - ?. ISSN 2044-6055

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether non-pharmaceutical retail outlets are aboding to the current Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) national guidelines for over-the-counter (OTC) sales of aspirin and paracetamol. METHODS: Stages 1 and 2 of the study deployed eight and four medical students, respectively, to undertake a mystery shopper style investigation. Stage 1: eight medical students attempted to buy ≥96 tablets/capsules aspirin or paracetamol in one transaction in 62 shops. Stage 2: four medical students attempted to purchase 32 paracetamol 500 mg along with a 'flu remedy preparation also containing paracetamol, in 54 shops. RESULTS: Stage 1 data revealed that 58% and 57% retailers sold more than the MHRA guidelines recommended for paracetamol and aspirin, respectively. We observed that 23% and 28% retailers were willing to sell ≥96 tablets of paracetamol or aspirin with no questions asked. Stage 2 results showed that 57% retailers sold 32×500 mg paracetamol in conjunction with a paracetamol-containing 'flu preparation; while 98% shops sold 16×paracetamol 500 mg along with a paracetamol-containing 'flu remedy, with no questions asked of the shopper or advice given. DISCUSSION: MHRA national guidelines for OTC medicines sales appear to be poorly adhered to in non-pharmacy shops. Sales of aspirin and paracetamol OTC must be better regulated in the UK to ultimately reduce morbidity and mortality rates of deliberate and accidental overdoses.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: paracetamol, aspirin, guidelines, retail, health economics, pain management, medical law, public health
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2016 10:02
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2016 10:10
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/1476

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