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COVID-19: Superdrug launches phlebotomy antibody testing service

Pharmacists will at this stage not be carrying out the service, Superdrug said
Pharmacists will at this stage not be carrying out the service, Superdrug said

Superdrug has launched a nurse-led phlebotomy antibody test for COVID-19 that patients can access at its health clinics.

Anyone who is over 18 can book an appointment to get the antibody test done by a nurse in one of 30 Superdrug health clinics at the cost of £89, the multiple said announcing the service yesterday (July 20).

As part of the testing service, patients will be asked to register with Superdrug Online Doctor and complete a short questionnaire before their order for the test is placed, the multiple said.

On the day of the appointment, a nurse will check the patient’s ID and “complete a risk assessment for the venous draw”, it added.  

The patient’s blood will then be taken by a nurse and sent to a laboratory approved by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) in a Royal Mail priority post box used to collect and deliver COVID-19 test kits

“All aspects of the testing service are in line with current government guidelines and the test is run by a UKAS-accredited laboratory,” Superdrug said in a statement.

Superdrug claims the test “has a sensitivity of 97.5% [meaning] it will detect positive antibodies 97.5% of the time” and that it has “a specificity of 100%", which means that “if you get a positive result, you can be sure the result is specific to the [COVID-19] virus”.

Pharmacists will at this stage not be carrying out the service. A Superdrug spokesperson told C+D yesterday that it currently does not employ any pharmacists trained in phlebotomy.

However, “we work with a training a provider who does provide phlebotomy training for pharmacists, so as the demand for screening service on the high street grows, this may be something we look into in the future,” they said.

Finger-prick test still “under review”

Superdrug’s antibody testing service gives patients an option, outside of the NHS, to find out if they have had the virus, Superdrug’s healthcare director Michael Henry said.

“While the antibody testing option of being able to draw your own blood via a finger prick test is still under review, people still want easy access to a service where they can find out if they have already been infected with COVID-19,” he said.

In May, Superdrug launched a finger-prick COVID-19 antibody test, available through its online doctor service. However, just two weeks after the tests launched, the multiple was forced to “temporarily” halt the sale of them following a request from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Superdrug is still planning to sell its finger-prick tests once these are approved by the MHRA, a process that is “still ongoing”, a spokesperson for the multiple told C+D yesterday.

What do you make of Superdrug's COVID-19 antibody testing service?

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Lobotomy testing would probably be more apt...

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

Bertie I miss you lol

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Har har!!

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Seems a bit expensive and smacks of making money out of the 'worried well' but it puts no extra pressure on the pharmacy team and we are, after all a capitalist country, so why not? Good luck to 'em, I say.

Emma Harrison, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Did they not launch a test some months ago and got criticisms for it?

That was the finger prick test, these are different 

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

They are 1 gready company. This is unnecessary medical intervention. If somebody needs a test they can get it free from the NHS/public health scheme. 
only 1 reason they are doing it $$$

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

$$$ is the only reason for their existence! None of us do this out of love! It's all about the money. Assuming they have done their research and seen that there is a demand for this service, it is not up to us to have an opinion one way or another. This is merely a 'luxury' product offered by a retailer looking to make money, just the same as booze or fags which an awful lot of people buy but don't actually NEED. If there is no demand, the product will tank and the company will make a loss. If there is demand, they will make a profit. It isn't greed, it's free market economics. Look at that chap who set up a chain of vending machines selling face masks - he saw a niche, took a punt, invested and his investment has paid off. This may, or may not, go the same but that is Superdrug's choice to make, not ours.

Not an antibody test, you need to be a health worker to get that at moment.

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