Paracetamol & painkiller sales could be further reduced as government tackles suicide prevention

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At present, customers can buy two packs of paracetamol in shops - but this could be about to change

Shops and pharmacies could further restrict the amount of paracetamol you can buy as the government plans to tackle common methods of suicide. At present, you can only buy two boxes of paracetamol in any one transaction at supermarkets and chemists.

But in the government’s newly published suicide prevention strategy, plans to limit this number further have been addressed.

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The report which was published today (September 11) states that although the most common method of suicide in England and Wales continues to be hanging, strangulation and suffocation (accounting for 58% of all suicides registered in 2021)successful intervention is possible.

The report suggests that one way to tackle suicide is to reduce the accessibility of paracetamol and co-proxamol to decrease suicides using these methods. Over the next five years, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will monitor compliance with guidance on the sales of pain-relief such as paracetamol, including promotions that exceed the recommended maximum.

The MHRA also plans to continue reviewing whether legislation and guidance on the sales of analgesics is safe and proportionate.

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At present, it is illegal to sell more than 100 tablets or capsules of either paracetamol or aspirin in any one retail transaction. A pharmacy may sell larger packs containing up to 32 tablets or capsules under the supervision of a pharmacist.

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