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Pharmacists should be able to get antibiotics to patients

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Pharmacists should be able to get antibiotics to patients

By Neil Trainis

English Pharmacy Board chair Thorrun Govind told Sky News yesterday that pharmacists are “well-versed” in dealing with drug shortages and those who are struggling to get hold of antibiotics should still be able to source stock for their patients.

In an interview with the news channel, Ms Govind said it “always a concern for pharmacists when we’re hearing about stock shortages” but insisted they were used to products routinely going short and finding solutions for their patients.

“In my personal capacity as a pharmacist, we’ve got these items in and we’re providing them to the public,” she said. “We are, of course, extremely busy as we always are at this time of year. For the pharmacists who have had some stock shortages, they have got other formulations of the drug available.”

Ms Govind’s remarks sparked a backlash on Twitter where pharmacists insisted they cannot get hold of antibiotics, particularly amoxicillin and penicillin.

Sky interviewer Kay Burley challenged Ms Govind to explain how pharmacists can get hold of stock while at the same time the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is “telling us that there is some concerns.”

“The government picture we’re being told is that there are not stock shortages of these antibiotics but what I would say is we’re well-versed in dealing with stock shortages, so sometimes, things are coming in and out of stock all the time. I can look this morning and the picture can be different in the afternoon,” Ms Govind said.

“We’ve spoken before about HRT shortages and pharmacists are well-versed in coming up with options for patients, liaising with prescribers and making sure the patient gets the right drug at the right time.”

Ms Govind also said it was important parents concerned about strep A do not go to pharmacies asking for antibiotics without a prescription.

“That’s the key part; you need a prescription to be able to obtain antibiotics,” she said. “The key thing here is for patients and parents who may be worried about strep A particularly is to be aware that we need make sure we safeguard antibiotics for when they’re most appropriate for the individual and that we’re looking after our supplies of antibiotics as patients.

“We’re making sure we’re finishing the course, we’re not sharing them with other people and we are making sure that when we finish our course, if we’ve had to stop the course because we’ve been advised by a prescriber, we return that to the pharmacist for safe disposal.”

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