Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Sandra Gidley has criticised Poundland as “irresponsible” for its buy-two-get-one-free deal on paracetamol and urged the retailer to stop the offer immediately.
The professional leadership body wrote to Poundland today expressing its concern over its continued multi-buy offers on the drug which it said violated Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency guidelines on the best practice for the sale of pain relief medicines.
“This guidance is endorsed by the British Retail Consortium of which Poundland is a member,” the RPS said.
Ms Gidley said Poundland's promotion of “multi-buys on paracetamol in this way” was “unacceptable”.
“We are extremely concerned by Poundland’s buy-two-get-one-free deal on paracetamol. It’s highly irresponsible and it should be stopped immediately,” she added.
“Medicines should not be treated like other consumer products. Whilst paracetamol is an effective painkiller, it is also a very easy medicine to overdose with and can cause harm, or even death. Guidance on sales and restrictions on pack sizes of paracetamol were introduced to reduce harm and suicides and have been successful in doing so.”
Ms Gidley added: “The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has contacted Poundland on a number of occasions to request they stop promoting paracetamol through multi-buys.
“Poundland’s decision to offer their customers this deal contravenes the voluntary agreements in place which protect the health of the public. Responsible retailers do not provide these kinds of deals.
“Of course when medicines are purchased from a pharmacy, the pharmacist can give advice and help people make an informed decision about their treatment choice.”
A spokesperson for Poundland told Independent Community Pharmacist that it is operating within the law.
“At Poundland we’re a discount retailer where the majority of our items are at a fixed price of £1. It’s therefore difficult to consider selling fewer packs to customers as this would represent poor value to our customers but what’s important though is we operate within the law – that’s clear you can offer three packs for £1,” they said.
“We do however recognise that while this meets our legal obligations, there’s clearly been a discrepancy between current law and the voluntary medical guidelines which of course is a situation that’s unique to a retailer with a fixed price point like ourselves.
“As we’ve said before, our offer is constantly under review to ensure it’s both legal and good value to customers.”