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Best practice guidelines launched for online prescribing

Pharmacy News

Best practice guidelines launched for online prescribing


The UK Digital Clinical Excellence Forum (DiCE), which represents online clinical service providers, has launched the first in a series of best practice guidelines for prescribing internet pharmacies.

The guidelines will complement existing professional and regulatory standards, says DiCE. They are designed to support online pharmacies in maintaining the “highest standards” of quality and safety in this rapidly expanding sector of healthcare provision, according to the forum.

A ‘DiCE-mark’ stamp of quality assurance will be available to online prescribers who recognise and utilise these guidelines in providing high quality digitally-enabled care to their patients.

The first guideline covers the prescribing of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors for the treatment of androgenic alopecia. This was highlighted by DiCE as an area of high need as evidenced by the significant demand for this treatment and because of potentially serious side-effects concerning mental health and sexual dysfunction.

Robert Bradshaw, superintendent pharmacist at Frosts Online and a contributor to the guidelines, said men seeking a prescription for hair loss from an online provider are likely to have researched treatment options on the internet, where poor-quality research from unqualified sources is prolific.

“Our aim is to distinguish [between] trusted online providers from those who could potentially do harm and provide service users with quality assurance from the properly licenced and regulated sector,” he said.

DiCE plans to launch around 30 best practice guidelines over the next 18 months to two years. The next subject will be weight loss treatments.

Online pharmacies who are members of DiCE include Boots, Chemist4U, LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, Pharmacy2U and The Independent Pharmacy.

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