Intended for healthcare professionals


From paracetamol packets to bed nets

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 19 May 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:a

Social engineering got a bad name in the 1980s, but all politics and most public health is social engineering. Rather than deny they are doing it, those who engage in it should ensure they do it well—and evaluate its effects.

A good example of social engineering was the restriction on the number of paracetamol or salicylate tablets that can be bought at one time. Such legislation was introduced in Britain in 1998, and on p 1203 Keith Hawton and colleagues show that it achieved its aim of reducing the number …

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