We take a look at pharmacy news around the world
Aberdeenshire, Scotland: Specially trained pharmacists will now be able to prescribe an antibiotic to women aged 16 to 65 with an uncomplicated urinary tract infection following suitability assessment by the pharmacist.
NHS Grampian is the first health board in the UK to roll out the service and more than 90 community pharmacies have signed up to offer the treatment, which is aimed at providing women with quicker, easier access to more effective treatments from their community pharmacy.
NHS Grampian estimates the scheme could free up nearly 25,000 GP appointments a year.
Dr Caroline Hind, Deputy Director of Pharmacy and Medicines Management for NHS Grampian said: “We’ve worked closely with community pharmacists across Grampian to prepare for this change.
“That’s included specialist training and guidelines that allow pharmacists to operate within defined protocols to provide an antibiotic for uncomplicated cases.
“Community pharmacies play a critical role in helping to improve timely access to assessment and treatment and we are delighted with the support we’ve received in introducing this service which should really improve access to effective treatment for patients.”
US: Two thirds of American adults believe pharmacies should not be allowed to sell tobacco, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have revealed.
Only 14% strongly oppose such a policy, the researchers found. Among smokers, nearly half supported the policy.
“People look to pharmacies to improve and support their health,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden.
“Selling tobacco products, the leading preventable cause of death and disease, goes against the important and growing role pharmacies play in Americans’ well-being.”
Several communities in the US have already banned the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies: as of January 2016, 134 municipalities in California and Massachusetts have enacted tobacco-free pharmacy laws.
In 2014, CVS Health became the first national retail pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco products. After implementing the new policy, CVS Health reported that annual revenues increased in 2014 and 2015.
“Tobacco-free pharmacy policies could help reduce access to tobacco products and exposure to tobacco product advertising, as well as de-normalise tobacco use,” says Corinne Graffunder, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.
“By eliminating tobacco sales, pharmacies can also help increase awareness of the health consequences of smoking and better support their customers’ management of tobacco-related diseases.”
US: The US’ Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to 55 tobacco retailers, including pharmacies, for selling newly-regulated tobacco products including e-cigarettes to minors.
Retailers who were sent warning letters included a Rite Aid pharmacy, three Walgreens drugstores and a Safeway.
These actions come about a month after the FDA began enforcing new federal regulations making it illegal nationwide to sell e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco, and other newly regulated tobacco products to anyone under age 18 in person and online, and requiring retailers to check photo ID of anyone under age 27, among other restrictions.
“Retailers play a vital role in keeping harmful and addictive tobacco products out of the hands of children and we urge them to take that responsibility seriously,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
New Zealand: The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand has created a new “Brand Pharmacist” project to help educate consumers about the services pharmacists can provide them, Pharmacy Today reports.
The project is intended to help build trust among consumers and demonstrate the level of knowledge and expertise of pharmacists – as well as helping to “future proof” the profession.
As well as helping consumers appreciate pharmacists’ skills, it’s also hoped the project will encourage people who would be good pharmacists to enter the profession.
“Promoting the services pharmacists now provide and their training and expertise will benefit patients and the whole health sector,” says Graeme Smith, president of the Pharmaceutical Society.