An undercover investigation has found that many pharmacies – especially independent outlets – are relying on poorly-trained staff and failing to give the correct information to customers.
Which?, the consumer watchdog, sent investigators to visit 101 pharmacies across the UK and got unsatisfactory advice on a third of visits, according to an expert panel.
Independent pharmacies fared particularly poorly, giving unsatisfactory advice on around half – 48 per cent – of visits compared to 38 per cent of national and regional chains and 26 per cent of the biggest players and supermarkets.
The outlets failed to give the correct advice to the mystery shopper, who pretended to have traveller\’s diarrhoea in 14 out of the 32 visits. They failed to ask whether the patient had been abroad or for how long they had been suffering.
In many cases the advice was given by a sales assistant who failed to consult the qualified pharmacist, a decision which "astounded" the expert panel.
How odd. The independents, those supposedly owned and run by trained professionals, were worse than those run by money grabbing large corporations.
It\’s also not all that reassuring when you think that the law is being/has been changed so that pharmacists can do more prescribing without reference to a GP.