Letter: Painkillers over the counter

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The Independent Online
Sir: Professor Sir David Carter's view that the sale of paracetamol should be restricted has my sympathy ("Ban pain drug, says leading surgeon", 1 October).

Pharmacists have consistently expressed their concern that - when so few tablets can cause an overdose - paracetamol should be so freely available in drugstores, grocers and on garage forecourts, where there is no possibility of input from a healthcare professional.

The Medicines Control Agency is now considering relaxing the controls on paracetamol, allowing children's liquid paracetamol, currently available only through pharmacies, to be sold in the same way.

We urge the MCA to rethink its plans and to make products containing paracetamol available only on prescription or from pharmacies, where there is always a pharmacist on hand to advise on how to use medicines safely and effectively.

COLETTE McCREEDY

Head of Public Affairs, the National Pharmaceutical Association

St Albans, Hertfordshire

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