Study proves pharmacies put patients ahead of profit

Community pharmacies in England put patients' interests first by refusing to sell an OTC product on over 13 million occasions last year, according to a study.

The Pharmacy Voice study used data from pharmacies' annual practice-based audit. Other key findings include:

  • The most common reason for not supplying an OTC product was because advice was given instead (in 29 per cent of all instances where a product wasn’t supplied)
  • Suspected misuse, unsuitability or legal reasons accounted for nearly 20 per cent of instances of non-supply
  • Onward referrals to other healthcare providers or services accounted for 18 per cent of cases of non-supply, with the majority of these being clinical referrals to general practice
  • In 8 per cent of cases where a product wasn't supplied, it was because people were unable or unwilling to pay for the pharmacy-recommended product.

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said: “This year’s survey provides yet more insight into how community pharmacists and their teams continue to make use of their clinical expertise and put patient need ahead of commercial interests. The data also shows the role that community pharmacies are playing as the first port of call in supporting the public to care for themselves, helping to reduce demand and pressure on other services such as GPs.

“We hope that the government considers the lynchpin role that community pharmacy plays in the local healthcare community when reviewing their pharmacy reform proposals.”

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