The public decides our value and future survival
From Mr D. McVeigh, MRPharmS
I read the letters from the 3 November 2012 issue of the PJ (p492–3) regarding the implementation of self-selection of pharmacy medicines, with dismay. I am concerned about some correspondents’ cloistered views of the open display of P medicines.
I have 30 years of experience in community pharmacy, ranging from when all medicines were hidden away behind the counter to the introduction of open display shelves (with lockable transparent doors) back in 1997. Although heavily criticised at the time by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s inspectors, that shelf system became commonplace and it was only a short time after that that the Society did a U-turn and supported this method of selling.
Do not get me wrong, I do see some benefits to the profession in preventing P medicines from becoming deregulated, which may happen if pharmacists remain reluctant to move forward. However, opponents appear to be quick to blame this change on political pressure and large commercial organisations. I believe it actually stems from pressure from the public and, unless we grasp this opportunity, we are going to be bypassed. What then for the future?
Supermarkets will not want P medicines to be on open display because they can only be displayed in the registered pharmacy premises, which, in supermarkets, is often a small area.
In a community pharmacy the whole premises is registered so we could allow customers to touch the P medicines safe in the knowledge that, should they wish to purchase, the relevant checks will be made at the point of payment. The supermarkets and some larger commercial organisations, I suspect, would struggle to do this safely.
Self-selection of P medicines is an opportunity to showcase pharmacy to the public, who will ultimately decide our value and future survival.
Let us all work together to make this work.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11110856
Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press