The Company Chemists' Association (CCA) has called for greater support for pharmacy services and interventions that work to address health inequalities.
The CCA also suggested offering pharmacists incentives to find people in their community who are not being picked up by other healthcare professionals.
The CCA comments came in response to a report by the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts that found that the Department of Health (DH) had been “exceptionally slow” to tackle health inequalities.
The committee said the DH had not focused its attentions on implementing key interventions that would make a difference, and called for a robust process to ensure transparency and accountability for public health funding in the new NHS.
CCA chief executive Rob Darracott said government policy should ensure health was taken into account by all ministerial departments and portfolios.
“This is a practical measure that could help to close the health inequalities gap,” Mr Darracott continued.
The association said it had long argued that there were huge opportunities to make more effective use of the many pharmacies located in deprived areas.