A pharmacy in Bristol has issued an apology after selling a product to “whiten” skin.
Westbury Pharmacy, in Charlecombe Court, has removed the product - made by Korean company Purederm - after a customer complained.
The pharmacy’s director said he was unaware the item was available to buy, and described it as “appalling” and “racially insensitive”.
Mitul Patel accepted his branch must take some responsibility but expressed shock that supplier Fortuna Healthcare would distribute such an item.
The company has now withdrawn the product from sale “with immediate effect”.
‘You shouldn’t be selling these products in this day and age’
Customer Deborah, who did not wish to give her surname, complained after spotting the product earlier this week.
"I popped in and I saw this box, and at first I was like, 'Maybe I've misunderstood, maybe it's for teeth or something’,” she said.
"He looked like he had not really registered that product before and didn't know what it was. He said, 'Oh I don't know.'
"I told him, 'It's a skin whitening facial — that's just not acceptable, you shouldn't be selling these products in this day and age, let alone in Bristol, which is so multicultural.'
"He seemed a bit taken aback, and said, 'Yeah I agree, I'll speak to my boss.' A few people in the queue behind me were like, 'Oh God, that's shocking.'"
The packaging for the Purederm ‘whitening facial essence mask’ offered ‘visibly whitening, anti-aging and moisturising treatment’.
Pharmacy director Mr Patel, who also runs three other pharmacies in Bristol, admitted the product should not have been sold.
A Fortuna spokesperson told ITV News West Country: “The product in question has temporarily been withdrawn from sale to our customers pending a review internally. We plan to issue a further statement early next week.”
Purederm has been approached for comment.