Pharmacy Voice has defended the proper use of medicines use reviews (MURs) in the wake of claims made by the Guardian that Boots pressures its staff into conducting them unnecessarily for financial gain.
Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott acknowledged that the newspaper's allegations against the multiple – including claims from one Boots pharmacist that they had been instructed to carry out an MUR on a patient with dementia – will raise concerns about the “potential waste” of NHS money.
But MURs are a “highly valuable” way of optimising medicines and their efficacy, Mr Darracott said yesterday (April 13). Pharmacists should be “proactive” in offering the service as often as possible, providing it is “clinically beneficial” for each patient, he added.
Boots responds to allegations
Boots told C+D yesterday that it “doesn’t recognise" the Guardian’s claims. The multiple has reminded its pharmacists of its guidance on providing MURs, which makes clear that they should only be offered if they benefit patients, and should never be carried out for the “attainment of numerical targets”, it added.
PSNC: Targets "a matter for" contractors
Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has told C+D that how contractors set priorities for staff is "a matter for them". But helping patients optimise their medicines should be the "priority for all involved in providing" MURs, director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said this afternoon (April 14).
RPS: "Urgent need" to address target culture
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) criticised the target culture caused by "unacceptable commercial pressures" in large pharmacy companies.
English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley said the pressure to meet targets "directly contradict" regulatory and professional standards, and stressed that pharmacists should have "professional autonomy" at work.
MURs and the new medicine service (NMS) are "important" services, and the RPS is "unequivocal" that the vast majority of pharmacists use "precious" NHS resources as effectively as possible, she said this afternoon (April 14).
The Twitter reaction
Pharmacists took to Twitter to air their views on the Guardian's allegations.
Also, whilst Boots might be the poster boy for that commercial-dominated approach, let's not delude ourselves that they're the only offender— Joe Bush (@josephbush) 13 April 2016
The Boots story is an NHS story, both the safety & finance aspects. Also a story about regulation of pharmacies... https://t.co/EYwjVbiGHX— Anthony Cox (@drarcox) 13 April 2016
Re: last article, worth remembering that there are ++ exceptional people working with Boots, who enjoy their roles. Two sides to every story— Jonathan Burton (@JonnyB_at_RMP) 13 April 2016
Read more on the MUR abuse allegations: