Bristol pharmacy sorry for selling mask to ‘whiten’ skin
A Westbury-on-Trym pharmacy has apologized for stocking a mask to “whiten” the skin.
Westbury Pharmacy, in Charlecombe court, will no longer offer the product – made by Korean company Purederm – after a complaint from a customer who called it “racist.”
Pharmacy director Mitul Patel said Bristol Live he didn’t know the £ 3.87 item was in stock. He said the product was “appalling” and “race-insensitive”.
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Mr Patel agreed to the branch take responsibility for the mask on their shelves, but expressed shock that his supplier Fortuna Healthcare distributed the product. Fortuna then withdrew the item from sale “with immediate effect”.
Deborah, who declined to give her last name, filed a complaint after going to the pharmacy earlier this week to pick up a prescription for her 10-year-old.
She said: “I walked in and was waiting at the counter to pick it up. I saw this box and at first I thought to myself: ‘Maybe I misunderstood, maybe it’s for teeth or something. “”
The packaging of the “whitening mask with facial essences” Purederm offered “a visibly whitening, anti-aging and moisturizing treatment”. It also said: “Made in Korea”.
Deborah said: “I was like, ‘It’s just mental.’ Eventually the pharmacist came back with the prescription and I just asked him why they were selling this product.
“It seemed like he hadn’t really recorded this product before and didn’t know what it was. He said, ‘Oh, I don’t know. “
“I told him, ‘It’s a facial to whiten the skin – it’s just not acceptable, you shouldn’t be selling these products these days, let alone in Bristol, which is so multicultural. “
“He looked a little baffled and said, ‘Yes, I agree, I’ll talk to my boss.’ A few people in the line behind me were like, ‘Oh my God, this is shocking.’ “
Deborah, a teacher who lives in the area, added that she had heard about skin whitening products in the media but had never seen an article like it.
She said: “I don’t know if they are sold overseas and seen as a beauty standard, but in our society it is just not acceptable. It is basically racist.
“Doesn’t the pharmacy get involved with the products? You walk into an NHS pharmacy and it’s supposed to be a place where you trust what’s on the shelves.
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“It’s there for your health and you think it’s been verified. It’s great that the guy agrees with me, but you also wonder why it was on the shelf in the first place.”
Mr Patel, who runs the pharmacy and three others in Bristol, said he would find it “insulting” if he walked into a store selling the item.
“We buy our over-the-counter products from Fortuna, one of the largest drugstore suppliers across the country,” he said. “They are the ones who provided it to us without my knowledge.
“They have to answer the question as to why they were selling it to drugstores. I really can’t believe they provided this to us, to be honest. I’m an Asian man myself and I find it appalling.
“Clearly, we should have spotted him on our side. I don’t think our staff even watched it. We took over this LloydsPharmacy branch a few months ago and had to stock up because the shelves were bare.
“If you mechanically evaluate everything and stock a lot, things get missed. It’s clearly a failure on our part, but it’s not about us trying to sell something insensitive to the breed. This is a case where we do not know.
“It comes straight from our shelves and I sent an email to all the pharmacies in our group to make sure they don’t stock it by mistake. We are a small business and do not always have the mechanisms to spot it. these things. However, he shouldn’t have gone out. “
When we approached Fortuna, its spokesperson said it would take the product off the market “with immediate effect pending a full review.”
Purederm, the Korean firm behind the product, did not respond to our approach for comment.
Forbes reports that skin lightening products are “a controversial market worth billions of dollars” and “particularly popular in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.”
Last year, L’Oréal removed the words’ white ‘and’ clear ‘from its skin care products, shortly after Unilever removed the words’ fair / fair, white / whitening and light / lightening ”of certain product packaging.
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