After the law has changed and the number of paracetamol tablets in a single pack was decreased it was proven that this influenced the deaths caused by overdose and they fell with about 43%.
In 1998 the government restricted the sizes of pack sizes to 32 tablets in pharmacies and 16 in other outlets.
In the British Medical Journal there is a study of the Oxford University that examines the years of 1993 and 2009 and shows the number of the cases of deaths related to paracetamol overdose. The result is far better that expected. The number of such deaths fell rapidly after the legislation was introduced.
Even when people do not die after they have overdosed with paracetamol in most of the cases they do need liver transplants. These cases also became fewer.
According to professor Keith Hawton, lead researcher for the University of Oxford Centre for Suicide Research, many lives were saved with the because of these changes in the law.
“While some of this effect could have been due to improved hospital management of paracetamol overdoses, we believe that this has in large part been due to the introduction of the legislation.
“We are extremely pleased that this measure has had such benefits, but think that more needs to be done to reduce the toll of deaths from this cause.”
On the other hand, researchers prefer not to be too complacent, saying that despite of the fact that the number of deaths caused by paracetamol overdose has declined, the number of people taking overdose has not.
The victims of paracetamol overdosing every year are about 120.
In the words of professor Hawton things will change only if the pack size is being lowered more and the paracetamol content of the tablets is being reduced.