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NPA service makes 16 POMs available without script

Practice Pharmacists will be able to bypass GPs to dispense a range of 16 POMs after evaluating a patient's self-assessment form, under a private patient group direction developed by Day Lewis and the NPA.

Pharmacists are dispensing a range of 16 prescription-only medicines (POMs) without the need for a prescription under a scheme developed by Day Lewis and the NPA.

The private patient group direction (PGD) service, which has been piloted in Day Lewis pharmacies since October, has allowed patients to go straight to their pharmacy rather than a GP when they require certain POMs. 

The 16 POMs available under the scheme – which will be available for NPA members to purchase from January – cover sexual health, men's and women's health and travel medicines, and range from ventolin to viagra.

Pharmacists will go through a questionnaire and ensure there is no reason why the patient should not receive the medicine

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After the patient has completed an assessment form, either online or in the pharmacy, the pharmacist will go through the questionnaire and ensure there is no reason why the patient should not receive the medicine.

Payment for the medication will be arranged between the pharmacy and the patient, the NPA said. Members purchasing the scheme would receive website hosting, e-learning and in-pharmacy campaign material.

"It gives the opportunity for pharmacists to extend their role and offer more services to their public... and use their skills in a way that perhaps they don't with dispensing alone," said NPA director of pharmacy Deborah Evans. "It can open up a conversation about other health issues."

Day Lewis chief executive Kirit Patel said the service was convenient and highly accessible" and would benefit "both patients and pharmacists alike".

"It will make the most out of pharmacists' skills as experts in medicines while freeing up GPs' time," he said.

The POMs included under the scheme are:

Men's Health: Viagra, Cialis, Levitra (to treat erectile dysfunction)

Women's Health: Trimethoprim (to treat cystitis)

Sexual Health: Zithromax, doxycycline, ellaOne (to treat chlamydia and provide EHC)

General Health: Ventolin, Telfast, Dovonex ointment (to treat asthma, hay fever and psoriasis)

Travel Health: Malarone, Malarone Paed, Lariam, doxycycline, Ciproxin and Scopoderm (for malaria prevention, travellers' diarrhoea and motion sickness)

Will you be making use of this scheme?

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Pamela Smyth, Community pharmacist

I'm concerned these will lead to targets being imposed by big chain pharmacies on how many you do, so would be a conflict of interest as there is with forcing people into unnecessary mur's.

Davesh Patel, Locum pharmacist

Well done to the NPA for taking the Day Lewis idea and making it into reality. Does anyone have a price list ?

Mohammed Sikandar, Locum pharmacist

What is the name of the 16th POM?

Nigel Baker,

sounds a positive step and interesting, I assume Day Lewis get and keep all the customer details? Mmmmmmmm?

Stephen Riley, Community pharmacist

I think the broad concept is great, helps show what pharmacies can provide. Also shows innovation and exploring new income streams. It is clear we cannot rely on NHS and dispensing as sole income.

However, I would echo others concerns that we need to be selective over which medicines are included. Otherwise could mask patients overusing

Din Patel, Manager

So now there is no reason not to buy medicines on the internet or from overseas. I have purchased antibiotics from overseas countries for years. I refuse to pay the Rx charge for products that cost a few pence. I have my own stock.

I do not burden the NHS or waste a doctor's time.

Reg Rehal, Community pharmacist

This is brilliant... A real step forward for pharmacy! Well done NPA and Day Lewis!

Neil G, Locum pharmacist

I Think this is a great idea!

Several companies already provide private PGD's for a range of travel vaccinations and flu jabs for example.

This is a nice positive step for pharmacy. Well done! Its a no brainer to have antibiotics such as trimethoprim.

Hope the independents can see this as a way forward to try and keep up with the big boys! The more inventive we are with ideas such as these, the more the skills of pharmacists can be utilised and the more belief we have within!

Hopefully the assessment is pretty water tight to prevent abuse. But as always we are in a great position to make sure patient safety is not compromised.

Well done!


Freelance Pharmacist, Academic pharmacist

I think this is a definite step towards the privatisation of the NHS.

Harnek Chera, Community pharmacist

Not really. This will be additional income to Pharmacies without it being taken away from NHS income. Additional services not linked to our dispensing contract should be embraced (resources permitting) to try and improve patient focussed services and pharmacy income.

Adina Brown, Community pharmacist

You are sure right!! man

Nick Rutherford, Work for a Local authority

Although I think generally this is a very positive step for pharmacy and a clear recognition of the expertise therein, I must say I'm slightly concerned with some of these drugs (Ventolin, Dovonex), as I was/am with the Asda salbutamol PGD. Over use in out of control conditions is a definite risk, especially when the GP is unaware of the supply, and abuse potential is clear.

There must be a balance between getting customers through the door by the promotion of quick, cheap and easy access to POM's, and the protection of the patient from inappropriate supply of them. I just hope there are necessary safeguards in place to ensure patient safety and understanding by ensuring that the pharmacist's clinical judgement is used effectively...

Amal England, Public Relations

I agree with your concerns 100%- any system of supply should not allow over supply, possibly leading to adverse events and/or addiction. But your argument does not stack up if you are comparing it to supply via GPs prescription. Supply via PGD always involves a pharmacist and often takes a lot longer. Sometimes its actually more expensive than visiting the GP. I have come across many instances which show that supply via the GP is out of control, leading to risk and/or addiction. I would not be surprised if every GP surgery had dozens of patients addicted to BZs, opioids, anti-histamines etc. Then there is over supply as a result of GP prescribing being out of control- how many bags of unused medicines are to the pharmacy? Why do you still see prescriptions for 4 ventolins for the same patient a month after a pharmacist has raised concerns with the GP? How many times does a GP just glances at the signature box, signs and hands the script back to the receptionist, without looking at what was on the prescription and who it was for? A fellow colleague was once left with no option but to complain to the PCT after concerns were raised with the GP on many occasion about a patient addicted to a POMcd and nothing was done. Prescribing by GPs is way out of control and had it not been for pharmacists, many more patients would have suffered at the hands of GPs.

Sajid Hussain, Community pharmacist

Great step forward for pharmacy. A real plus for patients.

S Hussain

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

I think that it is a good move although other chains do have PGDs and pharmacy cannot depend on NHS's being the single paymaster. Pharmacists will have clinical input at a local level. Well done.

Raymond Lee, Community pharmacist

Well done to NPA for being proactive!

It would be good to see PSNC to be equally as progressive.

Adina Brown, Community pharmacist

that's right, proactiveness, that's what we need from the PSNC, like this laudable one by the NPA

Alchemist 1948, Locum pharmacist

These PGDs are a private service that only NPA members will be able to offer this is not an NHS service. PSNC's role only relates to NHS services, so it is hardly fair to throw criticism at the organisation for a service that falls outside the scope of its remit.

Dhiya Al-Dujaili, Superintendent Pharmacist

How much will it cost to buy these GPDs,Last time we bought the flue vaccination GPD ,we made a loss of nearly £500.It dosent work for every one

Dan Broughton, Non healthcare professional provide private PGDs for £45 annual fee.

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