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Data from: How well are national guidelines relating to the general sales of aspirin and paracetamol, adhered to by retail stores: a mystery shopper study

Citation

Molloy, Phillip; Chambers, Ruth; Cork, Tania (2015), Data from: How well are national guidelines relating to the general sales of aspirin and paracetamol, adhered to by retail stores: a mystery shopper study, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.b1k0v

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.

Usage Notes

Location

Shropshire
Staffordshire