“We are asking that you ensure your pharmacies support public health by not offering such services and stopping any current provision,” GPhc has said in a letter to the owners of the community pharmacies on Tuesday (July 21) (Photo: REUTERS/Craig Lassig).

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhc) has said that it is not appropriate for community pharmacies to be selling and recommending rapid virus antibody test kits amid persisting Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are asking that you ensure your pharmacies support public health by not offering such services and stopping any current provision,” GPhc has said in a letter to the owners of community pharmacies on Tuesday (July 21).

The government has already intimated that the use of such test kits in response to Covid-19 has not yet been established.

There is conflicting evidence in relation to the use and efficacy of these tests and the public health consequences potentially outweigh any benefit a patient or member of the public may gain from this type of test.

Receiving a positive antibody test result does not confer immunity, experts opine.

“Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy owners work to protect public health as well as the health of individuals using pharmacy services.

“Likewise, we as the pharmacy regulator are concerned with public health as well as patient and service user health, safety and wellbeing,” the regulator has pointed out.

GPhc chief executive Duncan Rudkin noted: “The provision and sale of Covid-19 rapid antibody tests from community pharmacies: in the light of current public health advice, it is not appropriate for them to be sold in community pharmacies or recommended by pharmacy professionals at this point in time.”

The regulator has urged pharmacy teams to update themselves on recommended national guidance issued by the government at the relevant time, including the value of antibody testing, the consequences of supplying or not, and make informed choices about what is best for the patients and the public.

“We would expect all pharmacy professionals to consider the wider public health impact during this ongoing national public health crisis. Any activity that may contribute to false results or assurances that then impact on public behaviour should not be supported,” the GPhc said.

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