Friday, 17 February 2012

Stupid Irish paracetamol law

I saw a doctor today as I still have a really bad flu, although the fever is pretty much gone now.. I got a prescription for antibiotics, and I collected them but forgot to buy paracetamol while at the chemist's. So, I grabbed two 12-packs at Dunnes - one to replace the 12-pack I'd already taken from the kitchen cupboard, and another one for myself as the doctor said that I should keep taking paracetamol. However, I was told that they could only sell me one pack! :O

Legal limits for paracetamol sales

In Ireland, there were 7933 recorded cases of drug overdose in 2004, of which 31% involved paracetamol.4 It is against the law for pharmacies in Ireland to sell more than 24 paracetamol (500 mg) tablets in a single transaction.5 In early 2007, we visited 20 pharmacies in Dublin and attempted to purchase amounts of paracetamol in excess of this legal limit: ten pharmacies allowed us to do so.

(Note: I only attempted to buy two 12-packs = 24 tablets.. That sould have been OK, surely?!)

I find this ridiculous. If anyone wants lots of paracetamol, all they have to do is to visit several shops and chemists and/or buy it everyday for a while. Not a problem if you want it for any dodgy purposes.

However, when you're really sick and you need that paracetamol, the LAST thing you want to do is to visit several shops / chemists! You just don't have the energy for that, and also, you might be contagious, so you'll actually be spreading that lovely flu all over the place, just because some insane law won't allow you to buy enough paracetamol in one go!

For example, I take 8 paracetamol tablets a day, at the moment - it's the maximum amount, and I even asked the doctor if it's too much with my other meds, but apparently, it's fine. So, one 12-pack isn't even enough for me for two days! I'm really not looking forward to having to go out again, just to buy more paracetamol.. (Yes, I could have gone to another shop for more, but at that point I'd already done all my shopping, so I had loads to carry, and I'm very low on energy due to this flu, so I just got the one 12-pack..)

I was also wondering.. What if you have a family of (for example) two adults and three teenagers (=adult dosage), and they all happen to have the flu at the same time? Oops, there's no paracetamol in the house, mam or dad (read: mam, because man flu often appears to be worse than death) must go buy some.. Maybe the family lives somewhere a bit rural, so there's just one shop in the nearby village.. Unless the shop is into illegal drug dealing (lol..), they can only sell max. 24 tablets of paracetamol - or, maybe just one 12-pack?? (As Dunnes did..) In any case, that wouldn't even cover the whole family for ONE day!!! If the mam wanted enough paracetamol for the whole family, she'd have to drive to the nearest town that's big enough to have several shops, and she'd have to visit all of them. As a result of this world tour required by the Irish law, her own flu would get much, much worse, and who knows, she might even die of some post-flu infection.

Whoever came up with that law, should consider buying a 15c plastic bag (available in most shops - no legal limits as to how many you can buy in one go), pull it over their head, etc.. Just one bag is enough.

Besides, I actually remember buying a 100-jar of paracetamol at the chemist's, and that had to be 2007 or later, because I remember being ill and having that jar in the attic that didn't have floorboards until 2007.. So, the chemist was breaking the law, then?? (I'm so not going to mention which chemist it was - hopefully they'll continue breaking the law in such sensible way!!!)

Afterthought; I am not even against there being some limit as to how much paracetamol you can buy in one go, but for God's sake, at least make it reasonable.. Allow enough to cover a few people over a few days or so, because that's how long it usually takes to get over the worst part of the flu, and there are big families who might all have the flu at the same time.. This current limit is just ridiculous.

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