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Superdrug launches pill pouches for NHS online repeat prescriptions

Superdrug’s pill pouches are “dispensed on a roll and delivered in a recyclable box”

Patients ordering their NHS prescriptions online with Superdrug will have access to a multiple medication pouching service, the multiple has announced.

Existing Superdrug Online NHS Prescriptions customers and patients who are on multiple medications can sign up for the Easymed service for free when ordering their NHS repeat prescriptions on Superdrug’s website, the company announced last week (August 27).

Easymed uses “robotic technology and artificial intelligence to dispense medication”, Superdrug said, through which it packs all the patient’s pills that can be transferred into small, dose-specific pill pouches.

Each pouch specifies which pills should be taken and when, covering a month’s supply. The pouches are “dispensed on a roll and delivered in a recyclable box”, Superdrug explained.

Making “life easier”

The new service could be helpful for those taking multiple medications every day, as it can “reduce confusion for patients by eliminating the scheduling and counting” of medication, according to the multiple.

Superdrug health ambassador Dr Zoe Williams said that some patients who are on multiple medications might struggle to take it correctly due to issues such as memory problems or lack of dexterity.

“Easymed pouches hope to make it easier for patients to be concordant with their prescribed regimen, which can make life easier and ensure better management of their conditions, while also saving money for the NHS,” she added.

Superdrug said it currently has the capacity to support all “eligible patients” who sign up to the service.

Speaking to C+D last year, Rowlands managing director Mark Bather said his multiple was also planning to rollout PilPouch, a pouch-based dispensing device, across its branches.

A Rowlands’ spokesperson told C+D yesterday (September 1) that 138 of its branches will be live with the service by the end of next week, and added that it will continue to roll out the service to more branches this year.

What do you make of this new Superdrug service?

How High?, Community pharmacist

Great idea. Convenient and hygienic. Way better than manually filling dirty recycled MDS trays in which one can find hairs, biscuit and cake crumbs on a good day and dead flies and nail clippings on a bad day........ Experienced all these so give me a clean dispensing room and a well equipped, well maintained robot creating pouches that can be autochecked by an IR scanner any day.

Heather Pharm Tech, Allocation & Distribution

Are the pouches recyclable? This seems to me like a lot of single use plastic wasteage is about to happen.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Certainly would not be a shock to find that Boots for instance have a veto on C&D editorial decisions. 

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

I suspect the dispensing errors from this will be lethal!!

How High?, Community pharmacist

Nope. Well tried this and were using a £500,000 IR scanner and photo identidifier which matched up the contents of each pouch to an accuracy of 99.999%, way higher than the average stressed pharmacist can manage. Unfortunately Well couldn't get the program interfaces to work as part of their Advanced Dispensing and quietly dropped it after a year's trial.

C A, Community pharmacist

Wasn't advanced dispensing dropped as well? or is that what you were talking about?

Pharmacisteph ., Locum pharmacist

Amazon use this system in the US and are trying to enter the UK online pharmacy market. If others provide the same service this may prevent patients from using Amazon in the future (should they be granted a licence).


C A, Community pharmacist

"A Rowlands’ spokesperson told C+D yesterday (September 1) that 138 of its branches will be live with the service by the end of next week"

So Rowland's are doing this as well as Superdrug?

Not-So-Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

How long before we have to go round peoples houses at the appointed times to put the medication in their mouths for them? Can only be a matter of time.

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

I'm sure so some do already and for the the princely sum of £0.00

V K P, Community pharmacist

these CCA guys are dragging the network to the graves. they think they are bigger than the PSNC. let them fast track their organisations going bust. 

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

And just last week PSNC asked all contractors to stop carrying out services that are not funded by the contract! You couldn't make this stuff up. Idiots.

Not-So-Lucky Ex-Locum, Superintendent Pharmacist

Virtually every pharmacy I know of offers some kind of MDS system for free. I don't know why this is being trumpeted in C+D. Backhander maybe? Couldn't possibly accuse them of that now could I?

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