RPS supports availability of sildenafil in pharmacies

Martin Astburyby RPS President Martin Astbury

The MHRA have today posted a consultation about the switch of sildenafil from a prescription only medicine to a pharmacy medicine, which means it must be sold under the supervision of a pharmacist.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society fully supports the application for sildenafil to move from prescription only (POM) to pharmacy medicine (P) status so it can be provided directly by pharmacists for erectile dysfunction (ED). Read more RPS supports availability of sildenafil in pharmacies

Robbery by means of chloroform

By Karen Horn, RPS Librarian and Matthew Johnston, RPS Museum

chloroform-bottleOver 200 people visited the Society over London Open House weekend this year.

They all took a look at the RPS Museum and its varied collection, which includes chloroform bottles from the 1940s.

There are lots of stories about the misuse of chloroform which persist up to the present day, some of which are pretty far-fetched. Read more Robbery by means of chloroform

Is ibuprofen bad for your health?

Helen Williams 2by Helen Williams, consultant pharmacist in cardiovascular medicine

A new BMJ study published today examines the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen on the heart.  The study looked at 10 million people and found taking NSAIDs increased the risk of being taken to hospital with heart failure by 19%.   Sounds frightening doesn’t it?  And it led to some alarming headlines stories in the media. Read more Is ibuprofen bad for your health?

Branded, generic and identical medicines – how much should you pay?

jaynelawrenceby Professor Jayne Lawrence, RPS Chief Scientist

Increasingly the public are being encouraged by the Government to take greater responsibility for their own health. In particular, they are being prompted to manage any minor and self-limiting medical condition themselves, which may result in the purchase of an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine.

While it is well recognised that a generic version of a medicine is cheaper than the original branded product, the reasons behind a patient choosing the branded or generic version are complex – in addition to medicine cost, other factors such as advertising, brand loyalty, product packaging or a perception of higher quality can all play a part in the decision a patient makes when purchasing a medicine. Read more Branded, generic and identical medicines – how much should you pay?

Community Pharmacy Forward View

Sandra Gidley 3By Sandra Gidley, Chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board

You may know about the NHS Five Year Forward View, published in 2014, which outlined the future of the NHS in a world where people are living longer with complex health needs.

The Community Pharmacy Forward View, published today, aims to provide a sense of direction and vision for community pharmacy aligned with the ambitions of the NHS. Read more Community Pharmacy Forward View

Pharmacist prescribing – past present and future

Kirsty Chambers 2Ravi-Sharma1-300x225By Kirsty Chambers (Clinical & Operational Lead Pharmacist GP Connect) & Ravi Sharma (Head of General Practice Pharmacy at Green Light and Senior Clinical Practice Pharmacist at Honeypot Medical Centre)

Over the last two decades non-medical prescribing has undergone something of a revolution. 1986 was the breakthrough year when district and community nurses were granted limited prescribing rights; through the 1990’s the Nurse Prescribing Formulary was developed and when the new millennium dawned pharmacists started to get involved. Presently, the list of allied healthcare professionals (AHPs) that have some level of prescribing privileges is almost unrecognisable from when the concept of non-medical prescribing was born. Read more Pharmacist prescribing – past present and future

Adaptive clinical trials – could patients benefit?

Photo - Liz Allen

by Liz Allen, Visiting Professor, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London and Quintiles, Early Clinical Development

What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are studies designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of potential new medicines. Clinical trials are divided into four phases (Phase I, II, III and real world late phase studies sometime called Phase IV).

Phase 1 requires a small number of subjects, usually healthy volunteers though more recently such studies involve small numbers of patients. As the development moves from phase to phase increasingly large numbers of patients become involved and the cost escalates. It is estimated that about 40% to 50% of drugs that enter phase III studies will fail, by which point a pharmaceutical company will have invested close to one billion pounds. Read more Adaptive clinical trials – could patients benefit?

People with dementia in care homes need pharmacist-led medicine reviews

Laurance Thraves Alzheimers Societyby Laurence Thraves, Senior Policy Officer, Alzheimer’s Society

70 per cent of people with dementia have one or more other long-term health condition. As GPs and other medical professional try to treat these conditions, people with dementia can end up on a cocktail of drugs that exacerbate their symptoms. Using their specialist skills, pharmacists can play a vital role in improving how medicines are used in care homes and, as a result, the quality of life for the 280,000 people with dementia living there. Read more People with dementia in care homes need pharmacist-led medicine reviews

What effect does space have on medicines?

Colin Cableby Colin Cable, RPS Assistant Chief Scientist

Since Tim Peake became the first British astronaut to go to the International Space Station, there has been a huge resurgence of interest in life in space. Although highly trained and very fit, astronauts will still occasionally need medicines and of course there is the possibility that at some point a medical emergency will occur in space.  To address this, the space station keeps supplies of medicines and the necessary equipment.  So how does being in space affect medicines? Read more What effect does space have on medicines?

Referring patients from hospital to community pharmacy

heidi 1By Heidi Wright, RPS Practice and Policy Lead for England

Research shows that around 60% of patients have 3 or more medicines changed during their hospital stay, 20% experience side-effects after having their medicines changed and almost half of all patients experience an error with their medicines after they are discharged from hospital.

The upshot is that vital medicines can end up being taken late, or not at all, because the details needed to ensure the safe transfer of medicines information between care settings have not been provided or followed up.

Today East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is launching their pioneering ‘Refer-to-Pharmacy’ scheme which tackles this problem head-on.  It involves patients in hospital being visited by a hospital pharmacist or pharmacy technician, who then sets up an electronic referral appointment with the patient’s chosen community pharmacist. Read more Referring patients from hospital to community pharmacy