Pharmacists Write a New Prescription for Your Health

Pharmacists around the world are looking to take a larger role in traditional healthcare by prescribing products and services to keep you well. This move, driven in part by commercial motives, signals a revolution in health care systems in many countries.

In America, one of the leading pharmacy chains, CVS, signaled their intentions in 2014 by announcing they were no longer dispensing cigarettes at one end of their store while giving out prescriptions to alleviate the effects of smoking at the other end of the aisle. The move cost CVS billions of dollars in revenue, but they are quickly replacing a product that has been proven to kill their customers with easy to access walk-in Minute Clinics. The Minute Clinics offer customers “no wait” medical advice and support on how to stop smoking, as well as weight loss programs, sports physicals, flu shots and diabetes check-ups. 

Other major chains like Walgreens are following the CVS example with advice and products on a wide range of ideas and services that promote healthy living including, the opportunity to develop your own health dashboard.

In the UK, Tesco’s, the major supermarket chain has been running free health checks in their in store pharmacies. The health checks go way beyond a blood pressure cuff tucked in a dark corner of the pharmacy. Customers can sign up for a 20 minute comprehensive health assessment including: body mass measurement, cholesterol and blood sugar readings, followed by advice on maintaining a healthy heart.

A leading UK chain, Lloyds, is both positioning themselves as a first port of call for customers seeking health advice by offering an online doctor consultation as well as cholesterol and heart health checks and type II diabetes screening.

In Canada, which has a free national health service similar to the UK, pharmacists are also writing their own prescriptions alongside the scripts they receive from the local doctors. In part, the move into customer wellness is driven by intense competition and ever tightening margins on existing drugs and products but organizations like the Ontario Pharmacists Association are promoting the fact that “Pharmacists offer more than just pills.”

In Canada, as in most of the world, the population is aging rapidly as the so called baby boomers turn 65 and these customers are demanding new ways to deal with long term chronic diseases associated with living longer. One group of independent pharmacists known as Remedy’s Rx, are responding to the changing demographics and demands of the population by offering pharmacy services on site within retirement communities. They help residents with in-place advice and delivery to manage long term conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and other chronic conditions.

For more information on the health ideas mentioned above and the revolution in pharmacy services, visit:

Tesco 20 minute health tests: www.tescocharitypartnership.org.uk

CVS Minute Clinics: www.cvs.com/minuteclinc

Walgreens health dashboard: www.walgreens.com

Remedy’s Rx onsite services for retirement communities: www.remedysrxsp.ca/services.htm

Ontario Pharmacists Association: www.opatoday.com

Lloyds on line doctor consultation: www.lloydspharmacy.com

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