CREATING MORE CHOICE FOR CUSTOMERS
POM to P switches are definitely good for business – they create more choice for customers and free up GP appointments. However, only certain medicines should undergo the switch. In my view, anything that requires blood test monitoring should still be dealt with by the G.P., and pharmacists do not have the resources or time to carry out liver and kidney tests. Switches should be focused on treatments for common ailment, such as psoriasis.
Mithun Makwana, Avicenna Pharmacy, Bristol
THERE SHOULD BE MORE SWITCHES
I think there should be more POM to P switches. P medicines give patients the option of obtaining medication while still being given under the supervision of a healthcare professional. This also gives the pharmacist more flexibility in the products they can recommend to patients and reduces the need for emergency supply.
Sara Baco, Avicenna Pharmacy, Braintree
THE MORE, THE MERRIER
In my view, POM to P switches offer lifelines to community pharmacy, increasing their ability to respond to minor ailments and specific conditions. They offer opportunities to demonstrate the expertise of the pharmacy team and help to build up the public confidence in our sector. The only downside is when those switches move on to the GSL category, as we have seen in so many previous instances. The pharmacos use us to promote their former POMs, and as soon as it’s established they take away our corner of the market. Of course, there are also rare cases when community pharmacy hasn’t delivered the goods, such as the sad case of simvastatin… although maybe that was just ill conceived? Anyway, I say, bring it on – the more, the merrier!
Coll Michaels, Calverton Pharmacy, Luton
REDUCES THE NEED FOR GP VISITS
POM to P switches are definitely good for business, as they encourage more people to visit their pharmacy first. An increased range of P products allows pharmacists to better support patients in the community, without the need to visit their GP for common conditions.
Reena Barai, SG Barai Pharmacy, Sutton
INDEPENDENTS TEND TO LOSE OUT
In theory, yes POM to P switches are good, but in practice there are problems. They are often monopolised by the multiples early on before anyone else gets a look-in. There is usually poor support for independents and a lack of staff training by the industry, supplies tend to dry up in the early months – and there are very poor margins.
Sid Dajani, Wainwrights Chemist, Bishopstoke