Statement on Aquiette®
Proposal - Janice Perkins

Alderley Park, UK – 30 May 2022

As a former pharmacy superintendent and someone committed to enhancing the role community pharmacists and their teams play in supporting patients with their health and wellbeing, it’s encouraging to see the range of medicines available in pharmacies increasing.

Switching any medicine is a complex and long process with the most important part, quite rightly, being a rigorous assessment of the benefits and risks to patients. It is however also important to reflect on how our profession has progressed over the years. The pharmacist’s role has evolved, and we are now recognised as the experts in medicines and are held in wide regard by patients and the public. Pharmacists have the knowledge and skills to have conversations on a huge range of topics and to work with patients to help them make an informed decision about what’s right for them. As a profession we need to be brave and courageous stepping up to handle more complex patient needs having the confidence and expertise to utilise the expanding range of OTC medicines which are becoming available.

Aquiette® is awaiting approval for a switch following a lengthy review by the MHRA where all aspects of patient safety have been reviewed. This product has the potential to improve the lives of 1 in 5 women, many of whom don’t want to trouble their GP, and could benefit from being able to have a conversation with their local pharmacist. I see Aquiette® as a great example of how we can utilise our counselling skills, the use of non-medical interventions, in this case bladder training and, where appropriate, a short course of treatment to improve the quality of life of those women impacted by Overactive Bladder (OAB). I recognise it’s a more challenging product and isn’t suitable for every patient however this doesn’t mean pharmacists can’t utilise their expertise to support patients with OAB in whatever way is most suitable. Patient awareness of this condition and that it’s not “just one of those things” will help reduce the stigma and impact and will help patients know that support is available. Most pharmacists will become Independent Prescribers over the next few years and this kind of switch paves the way by increasing the range of effective OTC medicines available. This means pharmacists can handle these more complex issues without having to refer patients enabling our GP colleagues to prioritise other patients.  

It’s an exciting time to be a community pharmacist and we must bold and seize these new opportunities.