C+D p10 N5 Feb 11



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All the latest clinical news online chemistanddruggist.co.uk/clinical

In brief
GPhC proposes fee cut
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has proposed slashing pharmacist and technician registration renewal fees by 10 per cent this year in light of the “continuing pressure on incomes”. The pharmacy regulator was set to vote on the fee decrease at its meeting on Thursday February 9 as C+D went to press.

Rise in legal action over benzodiazepines
EXCLUSIVE Pharmacists warned patients could seek damages
Melanie Hall melanie.hall@ubm.com Pharmacists could be hit by a reported rise in the number of patients taking legal action over claims they have been overprescribed benzodiazepines, an expert has warned. Clinical negligence cases against doctors have increased, according to Professor Malcolm Lader of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, who said he had given legal advice on negligent prescribing and detoxification “at least every three months” in recent years. The affected GPs are accused of failing to warn patients about the risks of benzodiazepines, with patients alleging both psychological and physical damage from longterm use of and sudden withdrawal from the drugs. But pharmacists might not be safe from lawsuits either, warned David Reissner, partner at law firm Charles Russell. “Because pharmacists owe a duty of care that is independent of the prescriber, a well-advised claimant would consider suing both the GP and pharmacist,” he explained. “Even if a patient only sued a GP who was at fault, that GP might be advised that a pharmacist was also at least partly to blame and could ask the court to add the pharmacist as a party to the case, and seek a contribution from the pharmacist towards any compensation payable to the patient,” he warned. In one case, a court had ordered a pharmacy owner to pay 40 per cent of the total compensation awarded to a patient, he said. Mr Reissner added that, although claims involving benzodiazepine dependence were not new, “it is a little surprising that claims are still coming through”. “It is not sufficient just to give what appears on a prescription,” he said. “If circumstances indicate that a prescription should be queried, a pharmacist should not normally make a supply without clarifying the position with the prescriber.” If the pharmacist cannot reach the doctor, they must decide whether the patient would be exposed to the risk of greater harm by supplying or withholding supply of the prescribed item, Mr Reissner explained. “If the pharmacist knows that the patient has been on long-term benzodiazepine treatment, it may be inappropriate to continue to supply without knowing the prescriber’s treatment plan,” he added. “Pharmacists should make a written record of conversations with the prescriber, for example in the PMR.” Professor Lader told C+D that pharmacists could play a part in helping ensure patients are not kept on benzodiazepines for long periods of time. “What I would like to see is a belt-and-braces policy where the GP is backed by the pharmacists who also take some responsibility for monitoring it,” he said. The most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine in 2010 was diazepam, accounting for 5.1 million scripts.

Recycled drugs views
More than half of people in England would accept unused medicines that had been returned by other patients, a survey has suggested. Fifty two per cent of the 1,101 respondents to an NHS survey said they would be likely to accept re-issued drugs that had been safety-checked.

Boots health clinic plan
Boots has confirmed its plans to increase the number of in-store health clinics it offers in order to “meet customer needs in the local community”.

NHS reforms slammed
The government’s NHS reforms plans should be completely scrapped, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has told Prime Minister David Cameron. The RCGP said it had been left with “no alternative”.

OXY10 is now back in stock
Acne treatment OXY10 is now back in stock following production issues, manufacturer Mentholatum has confirmed. The product, which contains 10 per cent benzoyl peroxide, can be ordered through Laser Healthcare. Mentholatum has recently backed the OXY range with the launch of a range of training materials to help pharmacies sell its Clearlight and Seaweed Power products. The materials, which are aimed at pharmacists and counter assistants, give information on acne and explain the key benefits of the products. OXY Clearlight is a handheld device that kills acne bacteria using blue light therapy, while OXY Seaweed Power range uses a brown seaweed solution to reduce the number of spots within 48 hours. OXY said both ranges had exceeded sales forecasts, and confirmed “the majority” of its sales had been through pharmacy. Pharmacists who order OXY training materials can enter a competition to win an iPad2. To order the products, materials or request more information on the ranges, contact Laser Healthcare on 01202 780558. EW

Teva launches galantamine
Teva has launched generic galantamine hydrobromide capsules, indicated for mild to moderately severe dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. The Zeebral XL Prolonged Release Capsules come in 8mg, 16mg and 24mg strengths in packs of 28 with retail prices of £44.10, £55.17 and £67.83 respectively. Pharmacists can order through their wholesaler, Teva sales manager or by calling 0800 085 8621. ZS

Weight loss success
Pharmacies are more effective than GP surgeries at helping patients lose weight, a study has suggested. Results showed pharmacy participants lost an average 3.4kg compared with 2.3kg among GP surgery participants after nine months. More on these stories online chemistanddruggist.co.uk

10 Chemist+Druggist 11.02.12