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France set to toughen rules on sale of paracetamol and ibuprofen

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France set to toughen rules on sale of paracetamol and ibuprofen
09:29 CEST+02:00
International residents in France often complain about about the fact that ONLY pharmacies sell over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen rather than supermarkets or corner shops, but the rules could be about to get even more stringent.

France's health agency ANSM, which is charge of safety around medication wants to limit access to painkillers like Aspirin, paracetamol and Ibuprofen.

Currently painkillers like Doliprane, Dafalgam or Advil can be picked up directly off the shelves by customers in pharmacies.

But ANSM is recommending these kind of over the counter drugs all be placed behind the counter in future, meaning customers will have to ask the pharmacist.

This is already the case in some pharmacies in France but ANSM wants it to become the norm in order to stem the over-use of the drugs and the associated health risks.

The measure which the ANSM wants brought in in January 2020 would affect around 36 different brands of paracetamol and 46 kinds of ibuprofen.

"The ANSM would like the drugs to no longer be placed in free access and instead are all placed behind the counter of the pharmacy, which would strengthen its role of advising patients," says the agency.

Pharmacists in France often make customers aware of the risks of taking paracetamol and the maximum recommended dose.

READ MORE: Are the French falling out of love with their pharmacies?

The move would not change the fact that they are available without a prescription. Patient groups and pharmacies are supportive of the move, which will now be subject to consultation.

The risk of paracetamol overdose main headlines in 2017 when a woman named Naomi Musenga was found to have died as a "consequence of a paracetamol intoxication absorbed by self-medication over several days".

In July the health agency announced that boxes of paracetamol would be marked with the words "overdose = danger".

Earlier this year France's Competition Authority recommended extending the sale of non-prescription drugs such as common painkillers, hay fever remedies and cold and flu medication to mass distribution centres such as supermarkets.

But Health Minister Agnes Buzyn made it clear she was not in favour.

"When we talk about this, it implies weakening small pharmacies in rural areas, which are often the first resort for sick people, I think that would be a very bad idea and a very bad signal to give. We must support small local community industries," she said.

The recommended amount of paracetamol is a maximum of 3 grams in 24 hours with a gap of six hours between each gram.

Members of the public are not advised to take paracetamol for longer than 3 days at a time without consulting a doctor.

READ MORE: Only in France - Why all 17 pharmacies in French town must close on Mondays




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