A war of words has broken out between grocers and chemists in the Irish Republic over plans to restrict sales of paracetamol products. From October, such products will be available only in 12-tablet packs at grocers' shops, half the amount pharmacies will be allowed to sell. The curbs are aimed at preventing overdosing, according to the Department of Health, which claims pharmacists will be less likely to sell excess amounts and will also be better able to advise customers about the potential dangers. But independent grocers' organisation RGDATA has had a survey carried out in pharmacies in the Dublin area which casts doubt on such claims. Of 44 chemists' shops surveyed, only one refused to sell more than the proposed legal limit of 24 paracetamol tablets, it said, and only 16% volunteered any advice about possible risks. In almost all the pharmacies, it claimed, the products were sold by an assistant, not a chemist. RGDATA director general Ailish Forde said the results showed the proposed restrictions were "ineffective and misguided" and would do more to enhance the monopoly position of pharmacists than address any public health concerns. But the Irish Pharmaceutical Union denounced the RGDATA survey as "premature and seriously misleading", pointing out that the new regulations did not take effect until October. {{NEWS }}