Community pharmacies have been supplied with out-of-date face masks that have ‘best before’ stickers covering the expired date, The Pharmacist has learnt.

Last week, Public Health England said it would provide PPE kits to community pharmacies free of charge, to help protect them against the Covid-19 virus and safeguard pharmacy services as demand soared.

However, several pharmacists have confirmed that the face masks that have been issued expired in 2016. They have stickers with a date of 2021 covering the concealed date.

One told The Pharmacist that he’d received fluid-resistant surgical masks on Thursday (12 March) before discovering the hidden date.

Another pharmacist said that he, too, had received out-of-date masks as part of the PHE-issued PPE kits.

A third, who hadn’t yet received any equipment, said while expired masks could probably still be used, it was ‘suspicious’ that the national body had hidden the real expiry dates.

The Pharmacist has approached Public Health England and NHS England for comment.

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