Pharmacies should be allowed to supply rapid antibody tests


In response to the following article:


“GPhC tell pharmacies to stop selling rapid antibody tests”


Dear PIP editor,


I do not agree with the statement made by the GPhC suggesting that COVID-19 rapid antibody tests should not be supplied by community pharmacies across the country.


I think that the evidence supporting the use of these COVID-19 rapid antibody tests is strong enough to support their use.


More confusing and inappropriate advice from the GPhC. It’s frankly outrageous and behind the times in my opinion.


The Biopanda tests, marketed by PharmDoctor I use are CE certified and approved by the MHRA for use by healthcare professionals such as pharmacists. They are not the same as the finger-prick lab-based tests which were being illegally sold by others.


When carrying out the antibody testing service, we ensure patients are informed about the limitations of the tests and ensure the patient knows that regardless of the test result (+ve or -ve) that it has no relation to immunity and that the patient must continue following the government’s advice to continue social distancing and isolate if required.


This service enhances the reputation of the community pharmacist. Too many times we have been told that all we do is dispense prescriptions and now we were able to offer something new, different and innovative. This is something that people want and then our regulator arbitrarily says it shouldn’t be done.


Nonsense and farcical.


I think the step the GPHC has taken is an easy decision in order not to have to oversee this in any way shape or form. Especially at a time where premises and pharmacist registration fees are increasing by 50%, there is no excuse for GPhC Inspectors not to engage with the profession and support us in delivering a better and more complete service.


Other professions such as nurses and doctors have not been told to stop doing antibody tests so perhaps what the GPhC is saying is that pharmacists are not capable of delivering a healthcare message. Instead, we are only good at doing what machines will do in the future or more worryingly Amazon pharmacy will do soon.


I think the GPHC is at risk of bringing the profession into disrepute with members of the public who has clearly enjoyed discovering what the pharmacist can really do and are really about.


Also, I think that the GPhC is implying that people are too stupid to understand what having a test done means and frankly the insults that they have inflicted on community pharmacy have now been extended to members of the public and that is shameful.


The GPhC is clearly out of touch with the real world. Not for the first time.


Yours etc.




This letter was submitted by a community pharmacist who wished to remain anonymous.