Rowlands and Numark roll out rapid self-diagnostic tests across 5,500 pharmacies
The multiple and the wholesaler have launched self-diagnostic tests across more than 5,500 UK pharmacies, supplier 2San has announced.
Testing kit supplier 2San announced this week (September 18) that from this month, 380 Rowlands Pharmacy branches will offer customers five self-diagnostic take-home tests.
Launched in partnership with distributor Phoenix Healthcare, the five tests “initially” available at Rowlands branches include bowel health, vitamin D deficiency, iron deficiency, stomach ulcer and thyroid tests.
Rowlands will provide online guidance and suggestions on next steps in the case of a positive test result, while pharmacists at its branches “will also be on hand to help guide”, 2San said.
It also announced that 10 self-diagnostic tests are now on offer across 5,200 Numark independent pharmacy members as part of the new partnership.
The additional five tests in the Numark range are FSH/menopause, urinary tract infection (UTI), “drugs of abuse”, bacterial vaginosis (BV) and male fertility tests.
The supplier said that in addition to allowing “independent pharmacies to stock an increased range of rapid self-diagnostic products”, the partnership will build “on the foundations of normalising self-testing laid during the COVID-19 pandemic” and improve access for consumers.
Plans for “in-pharmacy treatments”
A 2San spokesperson said it is “vital that people become aware of and recognise the benefits of testing if they experience symptoms”, which can then be “identified at a much earlier stage and result in more effective treatment”.
“With the increasing scope of practice for pharmacists in the UK, we’re excited to provide self-tests to inform the first stage of community management of common health conditions,” they added.
Phoenix said that Rowlands pharmacy teams had been “given access to training materials to answer customer queries” and that “plans are in place to make in-pharmacy treatments available for selected conditions that can be identified with the 2San tests, allowing Rowlands Pharmacy to provide a complete solution”.
Stephen Thomas, superintendent pharmacist at Phoenix Healthcare, said that “extending diagnostics services to community pharmacies via home testing is a crucial step in supporting the NHS”.
He added that Phoenix Healthcare is “thrilled to have these home testing kits available to Numark members and Rowlands Pharmacies”.
The announcement came the same day as The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust’s “vision” for community pharmacy, which stressed that pharmacy professionals “need to be prepared for change” as they “shift towards more clinically focused roles”.
It said that pharmacies should use remote consultations and new technologies such as “advanced diagnostics, pharmacogenomics and wearables”, as well as referring people directly for some diagnostics such as blood tests.
Pharmacies are already set to provide prescriptions for seven minor illnesses including earache and UTIs without patients having to see their GP first under the common ailments Pharmacy First scheme announced by the government earlier this year.Earlier this month, however, Community Pharmacy England (CPE) admitted that progress on negotiations for the £645m promised for the scheme was “slower than…hoped”.