Asda has become the first retail pharmacy in the UK to make salbutamol inhalers available without a prescription.
Pharmacists across all of its stores will, from tomorrow (24 July 2012), be able to provide the inhalers to patients under a private patient group direction (PGD).
Patients will pay £7 for two inhalers — undercutting the prescription fee in England by 65p.
The service is an emergency service and is not being offered as a routine alternative to a GP appointment for management of asthma, Asda superintendent John Evans said. "[This] message will be reinforced by the pharmacist who will explain how important it is for [patients] to manage their condition and that the service does not replace their contact with their GP," he explained.
Patients will only be allowed to have two inhalers within an eight week period. If they attempt to purchase a third inhaler they will be referred to their GP, he added.
Asda will audit the service to ensure that patients are not abusing the system although Mr Evans admitted that patients could get around the eight week limit by buying inhalers from different Asda pharmacies.
"But this would be no different from [a patient abusing] obtaining a medicine as an emergency supply — a patient could go into one pharmacy for an emergency supply and then into another for the same purpose," he said.
Under the PGD, pharmacists will take patients through an online questionnaire to confirm that the supply is clinically appropriate. The online doctor service DrThom will also be available to pharmacists to offer advice if necessary.
Mr Evans explained that the service has already been available as a private PGD by online pharmacies but that Asda is the first retail pharmacy to provide it.
The decision to offer the service follows a demand from customers as well as the profession, he added.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Asda pharmacies to provide salbutamol inhalers via private PGD | PJ Online