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Invest in pharmacy blister pack services, AIMp urges commissioners

Blister pack services should be appropriately funded by commissioners to ensure pharmacies can continue offering them, the Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp) has said.

Putting together blister packs is “time consuming and costly for community pharmacies and is not separately remunerated”, AIMp CEO Leyla Hannbeck pointed out in a statement today (June 24).

Commissioners and integrated care systems should take this service “more seriously… and listen to our concerns”, Dr Hannbeck added, urging them to put money aside to fund pharmacy blister pack services.

 

Read more: Are community pharmacies moving away from providing blister packs?

 

“Despite these challenges, AIMp believes that the investment needed to put this right is small compared to the huge gains for patients, families, the wider NHS and social care system,” Dr Hannbeck argued.

She reiterated that "as independent, family-owned pharmacies", AIMp members are not going to “abandon” offering blister pack services.

C+D has approached the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee for its views on the issue.

 

Suitable patients should continue to get MCCAs

 

The service should be “properly funded” to ensure patients who are suitable for it can continue to benefit, Dr Hannbeck added.

Thousands of people make use of blister packs, which help them live independently, AIMp said.

Blister packs help patients struggling to take their treatment to do so independently, avoiding the need for carers, “safe in the knowledge they are taking the right medicines, in the right quantities at the right times”, it commented.

“This is largely attributable to the care and professionalism shown by local pharmacies,” Dr Hannbeck added.

But reports that Boots is considering phasing out this service for some patients have “sparked anger and frustration among patients, families, carers and [within] healthcare”, Dr Hannbeck pointed out. 

 

Read more: Boots exploring alternative options for patients using blister pack service

 

Boots’ decision was informed by the latest Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) guidance on multi-compartment compliance aids (MCCAs), the multiple told C+D.

The RPS argues that while MCCAs are often perceived as the solution to people struggling to stick to their medicines regime, the “limited evidence base suggests a lack of patient benefit outcomes and sometimes they can cause harm”.

Therefore, the representative body urges pharmacies to assess patients’ needs and consider which solutions might be most suitable for each patient. 

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