I’m a GP – here’s the money-saving code to check when buying ANY over-the-counter drugs

OVER-the-counter medication can be expensive.

Whether you’re stocking up on anti-histamines or grabbing an emergency pack of paracetamol – it all adds up.


Dr Karan Rajan explained that there is something everyone should be looking out for when they buy medicationCredit: Dr Karan
Dr Karan explains what the PL number on medication means


Dr Karan explains what the PL number on medication meansCredit: Dr Karan/Youtube

With the cost of living crisis hitting millions of families across the country, every penny counts.

Now, one doctor has revealed how you can save money on your next trip to the pharmacy, especially if you usually opt for branded products.

Dr Karan Rajan said whenever you purchase medication, you should make sure you look for the PL number.

This is the product licence number, which is a unique number of the package which helps identify it.

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Posting online, he explained: “If you spot two different packets with the same PL number even if the packaging if completely different and one is branded and one is non-branded, the active ingredient, the formulation and the product is exactly the same.

“When a company develops a drug, it’s given unique rights to sell it for a number of years, but once that term ends, any company can make it.”

This means that the exact same ingredients are in medications that can sometimes cost double the price for the branded version.

For example, one of the most well-known ibuprofen brands costs around £2.29 for a pack of 16.

If the PL number is the same on a supermarket or pharmacy version that costs as little as 55p though, you will be paying over the odds for the exact same medication.

In the clip, Dr Karan shows a pack of Sudafed, which costs around £4.49.

The medication is a nose and sinus pill, which helps you if you’re congested and you’re suffering with a cold.

But the same product, bought at own-brand level can cost around £2.99.

So it’s worth checking the PL number – because if the cheaper version has the same number – it’s just as good as the branded product.

If you regularly buy these sorts of products over the counter, then the tip could save you a lot of money.

Many GPs have been highlighting money-saving tips recently, as Brits’ purse strings continue to tighten due to soaring prices.

Just last month Dr Zoe Williams revealed her little boy Lisbon had chickenpox.

She said that there was just a 70p trick that could help you relive the pain your little one is suffering with – after many medications for the illness were out of stock due to a national shortage.

Dr Zoe said an oatmeal bath would help soothe their skin, with a bag of oats costing as little as 70p from Asda.

Dr Zoe said: “Oats have anti inflammatory properties and can soothe and reduce itching.

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“Put a handful of oats in a sock/tights and place over the tap whilst you run the bath.

“The water should look cloudy. You can also dab the sock directly onto the spots in the bath.”

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