Lloydspharmacy has warned customers that the weight loss treatment alli, which can now be sold in pharmacies without a prescription must be supplied only after a proper consultation, fearing that people may take it even though it’s not clinically appropriate for them to do so.
Andy Murdock, Pharmacy Relations and Governance Director of Lloydspharmacy, said: "It's important that all sectors of the pharmacy profession uphold the very highest clinical standards when providing this treatment," he said. "A number of GPs have said they are worried that alli weight loss treatment may be sold to people for whom it is clinically inappropriate.
"I am calling on all colleagues to maintain the very highest standards when the service begins tomorrow and not to let the desire to please the customer override clinical considerations."
Lloydspharmacy has trained more than 3,000 pharmacists and healthcare assistants to sell the treatment.
alli can help people who are overweight to boost their weight loss by up to 50 per cent. So, for every 2lbs of weight lost through their own efforts, alli can help shed a further 1lb.
However, it is only appropriate for people who have a BMI of 28 or over and should only be sold to people who are happy to lose weight gradually, are ready to adopt a reduced calorie, lower-fat diet and eat smaller portions.
People who are on certain medications* should be referred to their GP and there are some important contra-indications**.
Dr Chris Steele, who is famous for helping a 'This Morning' viewer lose 30 stones, said: "alli is a proven weight loss treatment and I am pleased that it's now available over the counter in pharmacies. It's good to see that responsible pharmacy groups like Lloydspharmacy have trained their staff thoroughly so that the treatment is only sold to people for whom it's appropriate."
alli contains Orlistat, which has been available on prescription marketed as Xenical at 120mg for over 10 years. It helps to prevent the absorption of fat and allows excess fat from food consumed to pass naturally through the body.
"All customers who want to buy alli should have a proper private consultation with a pharmacy professional who has been trained to advise customers about the treatment," added Murdock. "They should be given a record card with the first purchase and present this each time they buy further courses."
"It is not a miracle cure for obesity," said Andy Murdock. "For people who are committed to losing weight and who are prepared to make the appropriate lifestyle changes, alli can provide a very significant additional benefit, but it's not a magic bullet."
* Amidorane, Acarbose, Fat soluble vitamins
** anti-coagulants, ciclosporin. Also, alli should not be sold to anyone under 18 or to pregnant or breast feeding women
Lloydspharmacy has around 1700 pharmacies across the UK. These are based predominantly in community and health centre locations. The company employs over 16,000 staff and dispenses over 145 million prescription items annually.
Lloydspharmacy which is a community pharmacy has primary care at the heart of its business. This is why it has launched a range of products aimed at improving community health such as affordable blood pressure monitors and allergy relievers, as well as a suite of convenient professional health check services including free blood pressure and diabetes testing, and cholesterol and heart checks in the comfort of a private consultation room.
Lloydspharmacy is the trading name of Lloydspharmacy Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celesio AG based in Stuttgart. Celesio is the leading pharmaceutical distribution company in Europe and is represented in 16 countries. With its three divisions, Celesio Wholesale, Celesio Pharmacies and Celesio Solutions, the group covers the entire scope of pharmaceutical trade and pharmaceutical-related services.
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