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RPS urges retailers to protect shoppers from online substitution

Sandra Gidley: Robust safety procedures are needed

Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Sandra Gidley has called on retailers to put in place robust safety procedures to protect consumers from harm when a medicine bought as part of their online shopping has been substituted.

There have been concerns that certain over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol that have been in shortage have been replaced in shoppers’ online baskets by some supermarkets with other medicines containing different ingredients.

In a letter to the British Retail Consortium, the RPS warned that “without clear and explicit messaging to explain this to customers” serious harm could be inflicted on “those who cannot tolerate or may be allergic to a specific ingredient.”

Ms Gidley urged retailers to implement safety procedures to ensure customers are not harmed as a result of a substitution of a medicine.

“With demand for online shopping and home delivery services soaring as a result of the pandemic, it’s vital that robust safety procedures for the sale of over the counter medicines are in place,” she said.

“We are calling on all retailers to review their processes and staff training to ensure that only like-for-like substitutions of medicines can take place as part of home deliveries.

“Not taking action leaves patients facing a ticking time-bomb of a dangerous or potentially fatal adverse reaction to a substituted medication. Retailers must address this as a matter of urgency.”




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