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Pharmacists will ensure safety

Pharmacists are medicines experts and well aware of both the benefits and risks of antibiotic therapy and of the need to manage it responsibly to prevent long-term problems with antimicrobial resistance.

Also, experience has shown that pharmacists will treat any new 'off-prescription' medicine with great care and caution.

If the MHRA decides to allow trimethoprim to be made available without prescription, the professional guidance from pharmacists' regulatory body will be that supplies must only be made personally by a pharmacist.

Support training will be developed as well as protocols, which will be in keeping with national guidance for the treatment of acute bacterial cystitis.

Under these conditions we believe pharmacists have the competence to ensure the product is supplied safely and effectively.

We would be keen to ensure that pharmacists and GPs work together at local level to ensure both fully understand the limits of the licence for a non-prescription trimethoprim product and agree on referral pathways for cases that are inappropriate for supply without medical intervention.

Colette McCreedy, Chief pharmacist, the National Pharmacy Association

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