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Expanding pharmacy's role is key to COVID-19 recovery, says report

The role of community pharmacy in primary care must be expanded to help the life science industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical bodies have said in a report.

A 24-page document published this month addressed to the life sciences COVID-19 response group has called for community pharmacy to play a wider role in primary care to help as part of the sector’s “recovery roadmap” from the pandemic.

The response group was set up in March, and is co-chaired by Lord Bethell and the MP Nadhim Zahawi.

The report was published jointly  by bodies including the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI); the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA).

Actions that the government should take after the COVID-19 pandemic include “giving pharmacists write access to medical records” and “empowering” them to refer patients to other healthcare professionals, the report said.

To avoid the “elongation” of the pandemic, it will be “essential” to improve early diagnosis of and primary and secondary prevention of COVID-19 co-morbidities, and “expanding the role of community pharmacy in the core primary care team” will also “support this approach”, the report added.

CPCS expansion

The report highlights the community pharmacist consultation service (CPCS), which launched last October, as something that will help support the life sciences sector after the pandemic.

The expansion of the service to “accept online referrals”, which was officially rolled out in March, will form a key part “evaluating and embedding innovative changes in practice”, according to the report.

As of May 18, there have been over 300,000 patients with a minor illness or in need of urgent medicines supply have been referred to community pharmacy through the CPCS.

Medicine stockpiles

The report called for a “government strategy” to be put in place for the appropriate stockpiling of medicines and medical devices.

Vaccine stockpiles could be updated every year to match circulating [COVID-19] strains,” the report suggested, and “pharmacy and general sales list (GSL) products should also be included”.

“The strategy also needs to take into account the potential impact of exiting the EU at the end of the transition period” it added.

What do you make of the report?

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