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NHS Direct asthma reviews defended

I would like to clarify the article (‘NHS Direct to do asthma reviews', News, 7 November).

Our press release clearly explains the Patient Support programme is designed to support patients who have been prescribed Symbicort SMART, which is a new approach to treating asthma, using a single inhaler as both maintenance and reliever therapy.

The Patient Support programme is not a full clinical asthma review. This is part of a pharmacovigilance plan discussed and agreed with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to monitor real-life data of patients using this new approach to asthma management.

The support programme is not a replacement for any GP asthma assessment as part of ongoing care, but will be used to support patients to ensure they receive the optimum prescribed treatment as intended.

From Anne Joshua, associate director of pharmacy, NHS Direct

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