SNEAKY pricing means folk battling colds and flu face paying up to three times as much for IDENTICAL medicines if they pick carelessly.
And today Mr Money shows you how to make sure you don’t overpay if you or your loved ones are bunged up — by using one simple trick.
Branded and own-labels versions might look different, with varying names and claims, but often they are the very same tablet, capsule or powder.
You can find out which are the same — if you have good eyes and read the small print.
Medicines with identical make-up all have the same PL — or product licensing number, which is a tiny code printed on the packaging of all medicines.
Shoppers can find these and compare them. This isn’t just a case of the medicines having the same active ingredient but being made in a slightly different way or having a slightly different amount. These are identical, and we know that because of the PL code.
For example, Benylin’s Cold and Flu max-strength capsules are £3.09 at Lloyd’s and an identical product is £1 at Wilko.
TRIPLE THE PRICE
At Sainsbury’s Sudafed 16 congestion and heartburn relief capsules cost £3.60. The same product by chemist Numark is £1.25, and at Wilko £1.
But it is not just big brands where the prices are higher.
Boots’ own-brand Ultra Cold and Flu Relief All in One ten sachets cost £3.99, which is 45 per cent more than Morrisons’ Cold and Flu Relief All in One Powder for Oral Solution ten sachets, which costs £2.75 and again has the same PL number.
Megan French, from MoneySavingExpert.com — who have highlighted this issue too — said: “Families need to be aware they could be paying triple the price for identical medication. Over the year this could really add up.
“It’s easy to think fancy packaging means medicine will be better, but check what’s inside.”
A spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: “If the PL number is the same, the medicine inside the product is too. This rule would apply to over-the-counter medicines.
“The PL number is the same but the outer packaging will be specific to the individual supplier and cost will be set by each supplier individually.”
COUGH PASTILLES – PL 00094/0009
Potter’s Chesty Cough Pastilles (Pack of 20) £3.25 at Boots
Boots Pharmaceuticals Catarrh Pastilles (Pack of 20) £2.99
COLD AND FLU CAPSULES – PL 12063/0066
Wilko Max Strength Cold and Flu capsules (16 pack) £1
Benylin Cold and Flu Max Strength (16 pack) £3.09 at Lloyds
CHILDREN’S COUGH MEDICINE – PL 0014/0307
Calclough Children’s Soothing Syrup (125ml) £3.20 at Chemist 4 U. Com
Boots Glycerin and Blackcurrant Linctus (200ml) £1.99
COUGH MEDICINE – PL 03105/0057
Wilko Dry tickly cough syrup (200ml) £1.80
Morrisons Dry tickly cough syrup (200ml) £1.50
CHESTY COUGH – 03105/0051
Waitrose Chesty Cough (200ml) £2.10
Numark Mucas Cough solution (200ml) £1.75
MAX STRENGTH SINUS RELIEF – PL 12063 / 0067
Wilko Max Strength Sinus Relief (16 capsules) £1
Sudafed Congestion and Headache Relief (16 capsules) £3.60 at Sainsbury’s
FLU RELIEF – 12063/0104
Boots Ultra Cold and Flu Relief All in One (ten sachets) £3.99
Morrisons Cold and Flu Relief All in One (ten sachets) £2.75
CORN PLASTERS – PL 00089/5007R
Superdrug Medicated Corn Plasters (x 5) £1.69
Carnation Corn Caps (x 5) £2.99 at Boots