Patients using LloydsPharmacy’s private medicated weight loss service lost more than 20 tonnes of weight in total since it was launched in July 2020, the multiple’s superintendent pharmacist has said.
As part of the service, which costs up to £260 per month, eligible patients are offered monthly consultations with a pharmacist, where they are supplied with appetite suppressant Saxenda (liraglutide; Novo Nordisk).
Saxenda was recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in December 2020 for managing obesity in adults with a body mass index (BMI) over 35.
However, the LloydsPharmacy service is open to patients aged 18–75 years, who have a BMI of more than 30, or a BMI of over 27 if they also have a condition that is made worse by weight gain, such as a heart condition.
Around 3,500 patients have used the service since its launch.
In an interview with The Pharmaceutical Journal, on 16 March 2022, Victoria Steele, superintendent pharmacist at LloydsPharmacy, said the service “has helped patients lose over 20 tonnes of weight, which is an enormous number”.
“So, from what was quite a small service that we rolled out, it’s made a significant impact to patients,” she said.
LloydsPharmacy later clarified that a total of 23 tonnes of weight had been lost by patients between July 2020 and April 2022.
Steele’s comments were in response to questions on whether the multiple plans to expand the number of private prescribing services it offers, in light of the increasing number of pharmacists with independent prescriber qualifications, with Steele stating that LloydsPharmacy has “other services that we’re currently working on, that just aren’t ready to be released yet”.
She said that the multiple “currently [has] 65 pharmacists on a clinical diploma, which will bolt on to an independent prescribing (IP) qualification at the end of that”.
However, she added that support for pharmacists to use their IP qualifications varies by country.
“It’s clearly very different across the countries, in Wales and Scotland, it is very easy to see your path and what services you will then provide with your qualification,” she said.
“England still has a little way to go in that. And that will then help for us to be able to find our way.”
In the interview, Steele also warned that pharmacy roles in primary care networks, the opportunity to become vaccinators against COVID-19, and an increase in early retirement has been “clawing away” at the community pharmacy workforce.
“There simply are not enough pharmacists working in community pharmacy,” she said.
“Some people say: ‘But there’s this many people on the register’. Yes, there is. Can’t deny that. Are they working here in community pharmacy? No, they’re not.”
Pharmacists were added to the Home Office’s shortage occupation list in March 2021, making it easier for staff from abroad to successfully apply for a skilled worker visa through the UK’s immigration system.