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Weight loss: Superdrug expands online Mounjaro service to high street

The pharmacy multiple and beauty giant, which already sells Wegovy and Mounjaro online, has “expanded its face-to-face weight loss services” and is set to offer an “advanced” weight loss blood test. 

Superdrug yesterday (June 13) revealed that a four-week course of tirzepatide weight loss drug Mounjaro “will be available in over 80 of Superdrug’s health clinics across England, Wales and Scotland”.

It said that it has “expanded its face-to-face weight loss services with the launch of a new advanced weight loss blood test and the introduction of Mounjaro into its high street health clinics”.

The multiple told C+D that its “high street weight loss services” – which now include Wegovy and Mounjaro injections – “include measurements of blood pressure, weight and body mass index (BMI)”.

In-person patients also receive “counselling on diet and general wellness with a qualified healthcare professional who has been specifically trained to provide the service”, it added.

It said that these trained “healthcare professionals can also demonstrate and administer the first dose to the patient, if agreed by the individual, once the consultation is complete”.

The “expansion” of the weight loss service also includes a new “advanced weight loss blood test” that can optimise “weight loss progress, as well as identifying and addressing any potential nutrient deficiencies”, Superdrug said.

“Completed at the start of the weight loss treatment programme and then repeated every three months, the blood test allows patients to keep track of key biomarkers such as cholesterol, blood sugar levels and inflammation that are all closely tied with being overweight,” it added.

It remains unclear whether the blood test is included in the price of either Wegovy or Mounjaro, and from what date the new services will be available.

 

“A variety of weight loss services”

 

The multiple already offers both Mounjaro and Wegovy via its online doctor service, which requires patients to “complete a short medical questionnaire” and “highlight a preferred treatment” before a doctor reviews the answers.

Its website says that Mounjaro and Wegovy, which “work to help you achieve your weight loss goals”, are available from £215 and £195 respectively.

Superdrug told C+D that the in-person expansion of Mounjaro will allow customers to “access a variety of weight loss services and bespoke advice, guidance and support, in a way that feels most comfortable to them”.

Superdrug pharmacy superintendent Niamh McMillan said that “the weight loss service is only available for those who have an eligible BMI”.

“We have a strict screening process both in our health clinics and online so that only people eligible will be able to access the service,” she added.

 

Weight loss drug woes

 

Meanwhile, the body representing acute doctors yesterday raised the alarm with the medicines watchdog about the regulation of “life threatening” weight loss drugs obtained through online pharmacies.

Consultant in acute medicine and president-elect of the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM) Dr Vicky Price told C+D that she and “and many other colleagues in acute medicine” had come across patients with “serious, life-threatening complications” from weight loss drugs purchased online.

These include “inflammation of the pancreas gland and alterations in blood salt levels” in patients “who were not aware of the risk they were taking”, she added.

It comes after C+D yesterday exclusively revealed claims that a “young girl” had to be treated in A&E after presenting with life threatening symptoms after taking semaglutide weight loss drug Wegovy obtained through Boots Online Doctor.

An anonymous doctor told C+D that she was “not at all” overweight, but had obtained Wegovy after she’d “gone online, filled in the form and then got a months’ worth” for around “£150”.

They added that on “every” recent shift, a patient who should not be on weight loss drugs has presented with complications after illicitly obtaining Wegovy.

A Boots spokesperson stressed that patient safety is the multiple’s “number one priority” and that it has “a number of safeguards in place”.

Meanwhile, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) said that it takes “patient safety extremely seriously and will be looking into the issues raised by this clinician relating to the supply of weight-loss medicines by online pharmacies”.

 

Online questionnaire concerns 

 

Also last month, the regulator issued a firm statement in response to the release of “best practice” guidance by the Digital Clinical Excellence (DiCE) UK Forum for online consultations that use assessment questionnaires, a practice also known as “asynchronous prescribing”.

The GPhC warned that “the only statutory standards” that healthcare professionals should follow are those produced by the UK’s health regulators or from statutory bodies such as NICE.

And it said that it is updating its guidance on “working in online settings” to provide “more clarity”.

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s health, you can contact Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677 or beateatingdisorders.org.uk

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