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Superdrug launches pill pouches for NHS online repeat prescriptions

Superdrug’s pill pouches are “dispensed on a roll and delivered in a recyclable box”

Patients ordering their NHS prescriptions online with Superdrug will have access to a multiple medication pouching service, the multiple has announced.

Existing Superdrug Online NHS Prescriptions customers and patients who are on multiple medications can sign up for the Easymed service for free when ordering their NHS repeat prescriptions on Superdrug’s website, the company announced last week (August 27).

Easymed uses “robotic technology and artificial intelligence to dispense medication”, Superdrug said, through which it packs all the patient’s pills that can be transferred into small, dose-specific pill pouches.

Each pouch specifies which pills should be taken and when, covering a month’s supply. The pouches are “dispensed on a roll and delivered in a recyclable box”, Superdrug explained.

Making “life easier”

The new service could be helpful for those taking multiple medications every day, as it can “reduce confusion for patients by eliminating the scheduling and counting” of medication, according to the multiple.

Superdrug health ambassador Dr Zoe Williams said that some patients who are on multiple medications might struggle to take it correctly due to issues such as memory problems or lack of dexterity.

“Easymed pouches hope to make it easier for patients to be concordant with their prescribed regimen, which can make life easier and ensure better management of their conditions, while also saving money for the NHS,” she added.

Superdrug said it currently has the capacity to support all “eligible patients” who sign up to the service.

Speaking to C+D last year, Rowlands managing director Mark Bather said his multiple was also planning to rollout PilPouch, a pouch-based dispensing device, across its branches.

A Rowlands’ spokesperson told C+D yesterday (September 1) that 138 of its branches will be live with the service by the end of next week, and added that it will continue to roll out the service to more branches this year.

20 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of this new Superdrug service?

How High?, Community pharmacist

Great idea. Convenient and hygienic. Way better than manually filling dirty recycled MDS trays in which one can find hairs, biscuit and cake crumbs on a good day and dead flies and nail clippings on a bad day........ Experienced all these so give me a clean dispensing room and a well equipped, well maintained robot creating pouches that can be autochecked by an IR scanner any day.

Heather Pharm Tech, Allocation & Distribution

Are the pouches recyclable? This seems to me like a lot of single use plastic wasteage is about to happen.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

They are if it is the same as the one I've worked with before. I recall that being an important aspect of their design. Didn't want the environmentalists out for their blood whilst trying to introduce their MDS!

Heather Pharm Tech, Allocation & Distribution

Thats good then, one pharmacist I worked with recently said they weren't! Hopefully they were mistaken.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Certainly would not be a shock to find that Boots for instance have a veto on C&D editorial decisions. 

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

I suspect the dispensing errors from this will be lethal!!

How High?, Community pharmacist

Nope. Well tried this and were using a £500,000 IR scanner and photo identidifier which matched up the contents of each pouch to an accuracy of 99.999%, way higher than the average stressed pharmacist can manage. Unfortunately Well couldn't get the program interfaces to work as part of their Advanced Dispensing and quietly dropped it after a year's trial.

C A, Community pharmacist

Wasn't advanced dispensing dropped as well? or is that what you were talking about?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Advanced Dispensing was dropped by Well and rebranded as Central Fulfilment. Basically using the features of the Analyst PMR rather than trying to make their own which suffered from major feature bloat. An example I could give would be that they were even developing a series monitors attached to the ceiling in a "heads up display" format to show various bits of information and dispensing workloads in a fashion not too dissimilar to the workload trackers at McDonalds. 

InvaTech, the developer of CAPA, the PMR that handled Advanced Dispensing, was dropped quite sneakily, but they turned their work in Project Titan and are still around today. Last I heard was that Co-Op (not that one) had picked it up.

Pharmacisteph ., Locum pharmacist

Amazon use this system in the US and are trying to enter the UK online pharmacy market. If others provide the same service this may prevent patients from using Amazon in the future (should they be granted a licence).

 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

The system that Rowlands is using is the same people. Amazon will successfully barge it's way into the UK marketplace. They have the money, resources, and logistical network to do it at a loss as per their typical strategy when entering an industry.

Amazon Pharmacy India was their latest, by the way!

C A, Community pharmacist

"A Rowlands’ spokesperson told C+D yesterday (September 1) that 138 of its branches will be live with the service by the end of next week"

So Rowland's are doing this as well as Superdrug?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Rowlands has been trying to launch this for about 2-3 years now in their CDUs. Multiple delays that signify to me in my opinion, project managerial issues. Guess they have to launch now to remain competitive.

Not-So-Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

How long before we have to go round peoples houses at the appointed times to put the medication in their mouths for them? Can only be a matter of time.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

You joke, but the idea of home visiting pharmacists has been discussed in NHS England. Covid currently is putting that on the back burner for the meanwhile, the recent push is for greater use of consultation rooms.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

I'm sure so some do already and for the the princely sum of £0.00

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

lol

V K P, Community pharmacist

these CCA guys are dragging the network to the graves. they think they are bigger than the PSNC. let them fast track their organisations going bust. 

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

And just last week PSNC asked all contractors to stop carrying out services that are not funded by the contract! You couldn't make this stuff up. Idiots.

Not-So-Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Virtually every pharmacy I know of offers some kind of MDS system for free. I don't know why this is being trumpeted in C+D. Backhander maybe? Couldn't possibly accuse them of that now could I?

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