Paracetamol crackdown to cut suicides

Daily Express 22/11/96

TOUGH curbs on the sale of paracetamol pills will be ordered by the Government today in an attempt to reduce suicide bids.

Paracetamol is Britain’s most popular drug, with 30 million people popping 4,000 million pills a year.

But it is also the biggest cause of overdoses. Doctors say around 20 paracetamol tablets can he enough to kill, usually because of liver failure. Health Minister Gerald Malone will urge manufacturers and retailers to reduce the number of tablets in bottles and packs to cut suicide attempts.

He will call on the pharmaceutical industry to draw up a strict code of conduct, but threaten Government legislation if it falls to work. According to the latest figures, paracetamol poisoning causes more than 100 deaths and 30,000 hospital admissions a year, almost all of which are attempted suicides.

The pills crackdown follows huge pressure from doctors and psychiatrists.