Store personnel giving incorrect advice for medicines

The Medical Products Agency says employees at convenience stores and supermarkets are giving advice for over-the-counter medications even though it is illegal.

The agency reviewed 800 stores who sell over-the-counter medications. It found that two out of three employees offer advice about specific medicines when they are asked.

The law states that only people with pharmaceutical training can offer medical advice to customers who are buying medication.

The agency also sent test shoppers out to stores and found that employees were giving wrong advice, for example, to parents who were going to give fever medication to children, and to pregnant women who were going to take pain medication.

"It's completely human," says Cecilia Bernsten at the Medical Products Agency, to Swedish Radio News. "People are used to recommending different products. But it's important to remember that medication isn't ketchup or toothpaste. These medications have positive effects but also very negative effects."

According to the consumer organization Svensk Daglivaruhandel, who represents the large supermarket chains, employees are rarely asked for advice about medicine.

However, responding to the agency's study, CEO Thomas Svaton says, "Then employees who actively get asked for advice are using their own knowledge, and they can't do that. It's unacceptable."

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