The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has changed their stance on Covid-19 rapid antibody testing in UK community pharmacies. In light of the updated Public Health England (PHE) guidance, the GPhC are no longer asking community pharmacies not to provide rapid, point of care, near-person antibody tests for Covid-19.
The statement comes after the GPhC had previously told pharmacy owners across the UK in July 2020 that it was inappropriate to supply these types of rapid antibody tests.
In a statement the GPhC said the following:
“We have updated our position on supplying different types of Covid-19 tests from pharmacies in Great Britain. We have kept our position on the supply of Covid-19 tests from pharmacies under close review, in this complex and fast-changing landscape. We have been in regular contact with other regulators and public health bodies with leading roles in relation to testing to understand their current positions.
“We have carefully reviewed guidance from Public Health England published on 1st February 2021 and have updated our previous position on the provision of rapid, point of care, near-person antibody tests for Covid-19 from community pharmacies in response. In light of the updated Public Health England guidance, we are no longer asking community pharmacies not to provide rapid, point of care, near-person antibody tests for Covid-19.
“Instead, we expect any pharmacy owner or pharmacy professional to carefully consider the PHE guidance and other relevant guidance if deciding whether it is appropriate to offer this type of test or other types of Covid-19 test. We also expect providers to carry out a full risk assessment and have provided examples of what pharmacy owners should consider when preparing their risk assessment.
“Examples of things to consider include:
- The end to end process and whether all components and parties involved meeting the requirements for the service to be safe and quality assured.
- How the results are fed into the wider surveillance network and/ or part of a clinical study.
- How you will make sure that suitable training is delivered for all health care professionals and staff members involved in the service so they are aware of their roles and responsibilities, including providing evidence-based information to people using the service in line with government guidelines.
“It is essential that any pharmacy offering Covid-19 tests also checks whether they need to be accredited with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service.”
The GPhC have invited pharmacy owners to read their updated position on the supply of Covid-19 tests from pharmacies for more information.