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Ofcom decides against investigating ‘This Morning’ remarks on pharmacists

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Broadcast regulator Ofcom has decided not to investigate the complaints against ITV show that called pharmacists ‘pretend doctors’.

Confirming the decision, an Ofcom spokesperson told Pharmacy Business that the regulator has given consideration to other panelists contesting the controversial opinion during the show.

“While we understand that some viewers were offended, we took into account that the presenter and another guest challenged his opinions during the discussion. We also considered that the content was within the likely expectations of viewers of this programme, which regularly features guests exchanging conflicting personal views on topical issues,” the Ofcom spokesperson said in a statement.

Over 3,000 complaints have been registered with Ofcom after panelists on ITV’s This Morning show labelled pharmacists as ‘pretend doctors’ and ‘shopkeepers’. The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) was among the complainants.

Following the backlash, the show later featured a high street pharmacy and discussed the variety of services pharmacies provide. Alice Beer from the show visited Well Pharmacy’s Scott Arms-Walsall Road store in Great Barr, Birmingham to highlight what pharmacists do for patients.

When asked about Ofcom’s latest decision, Stephen Fishwick, Head of Communications at the NPA, told Pharmacy Business that the “the ill-informed remarks” made misrepresented pharmacists and “may have discouraged people from accessing the valuable support available in pharmacies”.

“The following week the programme broadcast a very positive piece about the role of community pharmacy, which was considerably better informed than the earlier broadcast.”

“The public has a generally positive view of community pharmacies but there’s still lots more that needs to be done to raise awareness of what they do,” Fishwick added.

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