France 'plans stricter rules on sale of painkillers'

Health watchdog unveils to plans to take products such as paracetamol and ibuprofen behind pharmacy counters

Customers will no longer be able to pick up common painkillers and anti-inflammatories - including paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen - from pharmacy shelves, if plans from France's health watchdog come into effect.

The Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament (ANSM) wants to remove medicines such as Doliprane, Efferalgan, and Advil from publicly-accessible areas in pharmacies, and take them behind the counter as soon as January 2020.

"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," the health watchdog said in a statement.

Pharmacists routinely warn customers of the risks of self-medicating and maximum recommended doses when selling painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Some already keep such medicines behind their counters - but many pharmacies have them on publicly accessible shelves.

Patient groups and pharmacies are reportedly in favour of the plans, which will now be subject to consultation.

As reported, ANSM announced in July that paracetamol products on sale in France would carry health warnings.

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