Co-op charge almost ten times as much for identical painkillers
Good old Co-Operative Food. You know, the one founded on ethical principles? Well, it seems they are as ready to swindle consumers as any less ethical supermarket, by making false claims on their products, and then attempting to charge almost ten times as much for the hyped-up product.
If you have a headache, you might want to buy some painkillers. Ibuprofen is a popular choice. In Co-operative Food stores, you can find both standard ibuprofen tablets and 'Long Lasting' ibuprofen tablets side by side on the shelf. If you are a busy person, you might think you'd better purchase the 'long lasting' tablets to make sure your pain does not impinge on your day any more than absolutely necessary.
As you can see, the standard and long-lasting tablets are in very similar packaging. So similar, and so closely nestled together that it almost might be possible to mistakenly pick up the wrong packet- which would be an expensive mistake to make given than the 'Long Lasting' ibuprofen tablets cost £1.95 for 8 tablets (24.4p each)and the standard ibuprofen tablets cost 45p for 16 tablets (2.8p each). Now, almost ten times more expensive is a fairly hefty premium to pay for a 'long lasting' effect so we checked the ingredients of the tablets to see what gave the long lasting tablets their endurance. Guess what we found? That's right. Nothing.
You see the 2.8p tablets and the 24.4p tablets are identical in terms of active ingredients. Both contain 200mg ibuprofen. So we were confused. Surely the Co-op with their “ethical values" that include “openness" and “honesty" were not merely trying to sell consumers ibuprofen with added snake oil just to make a hefty profit?
So we asked them. And they said "there is a difference," but didn't actually get round to explaining what the difference was, or responding to our query as to whether they thought they were deliberately misleading customers by selling products that are chemically identical under another name. Funny that. Looks like the “Co-operative value" of “self responsibility- we take responsibility for, and answer to our actions" might be something else that is actually a load of old codswallop…
Co-op have now come back to tell us why the "Long Lasting" tablets are worth so much more. The answer is that "the Long Lasting ibuprofen are made up of beads which allow the ibuprofen to release slowly as opposed to the tablet which is immediate." They also feel that swindle is too strong a word.
So it's up to you as to whether you would rather take two long lasting tablets, delivering you 400mg of pain relief over 12 hours for a total cost of 48.8p, or whether you'd rather take two tablets every four hours and get 1200mg of pain relief at a cost of 16.8p. A third of the pain relieving ingredient for (almost) three times the cost. Seems perfectly reasonable...