Countdown Limits Ibuprofen Sales

Following similar limitations on the sale of paracetamol last year, Countdown supermarkets will limit the sale of ibuprofen and items containing ibuprofen to one pack per customer.

In a July 2020 report, Coroner David Robinson recommended limiting sales of paracetamol to help reduce the risk of overdose. He had concerns it had become too easy for anyone to purchase large quantities of over-the-counter painkillers.

Countdown’s head pharmacist, Jeremy Armes, said broadening the limit to include the sale of ibuprofen in its stores was the right thing to do for the safety of customers.

“For many Kiwis ibuprofen and paracetamol are safe and affordable pain relief options conveniently available in supermarkets, which are often open when pharmacies and doctors aren’t. Both are incredibly useful and effective medicines, but as with all medicines they should be treated with care and only used as instructed.”

Ibuprofen didn’t have the same risk profile as paracetamol, but misuse could still be harmful.

“In situations where a customer might want to buy larger quantities, we think the safest way to do this is in a pharmacy environment where a pharmacist can talk through their proper use and risks one-on-one.”

Armes added that accidental or intentional overdose could have tragic consequences and awareness, education and support were the keys to mental and physical wellbeing, and reducing risk was important. Customers needing chronic and long-term pain relief could be prescribed larger quantities from their GP or visit a Countdown pharmacy in-store, he said.