Case 112 - Purchase of three packs of paracetamol refused at supermarket


The enquirer picked up three packs of 16 tablets in a supermarket and was then refused the purchase at the check-out and told "its because of health & safety". Upon questioning what the legislation was the Manager reiterated it was health & safety law. Upon ringing the supermarket helpline she was finally told it wasn't the law but a company rule, put in place to stop customers overdosing.

Panel decision

There are no occupational health and safety regulations which apply in this case but the sale of paracetamol tablets is restricted by law to a maximum pack of 16 tablets without the supervision of a pharmacist. This regulation is the responsibility of the Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) not the Health and Safety Executive and is intended to reduce the risk of accidental or intentional overdose.