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Fewer than 50pc of pharmacies selling POM to P switch oral contraceptives

Pharmacy News

Fewer than 50pc of pharmacies selling POM to P switch oral contraceptives

While all pharmacies stock sildenafil, far fewer sell female oral contraceptives reclassified from POM to P, a survey of community pharmacies has indicaated.

Desogestrel was only sold in 50 per cent of pharmacies, and estradiol in 28 per cent, according to the survey carried out by Kingston University, which looked at community pharmacists’ perceptions of the POM to P reclassification of medicines for sexual and reproductive health. The results have been published in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice.

Reasons cited for not selling desogestrel and/or estradiol included lack of public awareness about the availability of these products, and a lack of public interest in purchasing them. While the availability of sildenafil as a P medicine was seen as a positive for improving safe access, many pharmacists (86 per cent) expressed concerns about the high risk of its misuse.

In terms of training, the available training for sildenafil received higher ratings compared to that for desogestrel or estradiol. Most pharmacists (67 per cent) indicated that having case studies incorporated into the training for POM to P switches helped them understand which patients could safely purchase these medications.

Most pharmacists (88 per cent) perceived that medication reclassification increased their role and provided greater access to medicines for the public. However, less than half (44 per cent) had a good understanding of the reclassification process.

Pharmacies in Greater London took part in the survey - 398 pharmacists in 210 premises were approached. The response rate was 37.7 per cent (n=150/398), below the recommended sample size of 340.

The survey investigated pharmacists’ perceptions of POM to P medicine reclassifications for sexual and reproductive health: sildenafil citrate (Viagra Connect, for erectile dysfunction), desogestrel (Hana/Lovima, for contraception), and estradiol hemihydrate (Gina, for vaginal atrophy).

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