World Pharmacists Day 2022
Alderley Park, UK – 23 September 2022
Sunday 25th September is World Pharmacists Day, an annual campaign led by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) to raise awareness of the pharmacy profession, and the value that pharmacists bring to the health care service.
This year’s theme is ‘Pharmacy united in action for a healthier world’, a theme that is very close to Maxwellia’s heart and aligned to our company mission of widening access to medicines and changing the way people manage their health.
Here at Maxwellia, we are driven to provide people with better ways to look after themselves by developing new consumer healthcare brands, empowering people to self-care more effectively. We do this by identifying prescription medicines that meet an unmet healthcare need in society and make them available to buy in pharmacies by switching them to over the counter use.
Why is self-care important?
The increasing pressure on the NHS is no secret. From the Covid-19 pandemic to the shortage of healthcare professionals, the NHS is struggling to meet demand in GP surgeries, A&E departments, and with pre-planned surgeries.
Recent figures show:
There are now 1,737 fewer fully qualified full-time GPs compared to 2015
GP practices have on average 2,057 more patients each than in 2015
There are now just 0.45 fully qualified GPs per 1,000 patients in England
There are 57 million GP consultations a year for minor ailments at a total cost to the NHS of £2 billion.
As of April 2022, the NHS waiting list was at a record high of 6.5 million patients
Practicing self-care encourages people to look after themselves when they can, and only utilise the NHS when they need to.
How can pharmacy support self-care?
Self-care does not mean no care. Maxwellia help people look after themselves without the need for a doctor’s appointment and prescription, by broadening the role of the pharmacist and giving more people access to the medicines they need to improve their health and quality of life.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw pharmacies become the gateway to the NHS. As people struggled to get a GP appointment, pharmacists and their teams were able to use their clinical knowledge and expertise to help people manage their health.
Pharmacists play a vital role as a first port-of-call when people are feeling unwell and are a trusted source for recommendations on how people can self-care - including providing information and access to medicines that are available to buy over the counter.
Unlike prescription medicines, OTC products can be advertised allowing consumers to become aware of their symptoms, and how they may be able to self-care following a visit to pharmacy.
Switched medicines (POM to P status) require the expertise of the pharmacist to provide safe supply to consumers, however, much of the heavy lifting is done through the switch process making OTC medicines the ‘ready to go’ option.
Ahead of licence approval, considerable work is undertaken to ensure all the relevant information that a pharmacist needs to provide safe supply is included on the carton. At Maxwellia we call this an ‘active pack’, meaning the information on the pack can be worked through by way of a consultation, providing reassurance to the pharmacist that the product is suitable for the consumer.
In addition to the information on the product carton, detailed training materials are created for pharmacists and their teams. These can include printed training guides, quick reference guides, case studies, checklists, training videos, and knowledge check modules. OTC product training is a key part of the switch process and extremely important for pharmacists to engage with to ensure they can comfortably and intuitively supply people with the medicines they need.
How does switching work?
Switching prescription medicines to over-the-counter status for pharmacy is no mean feat. It is a highly complex and regulated process that takes time, on average a switch can take anywhere between 2-4 years depending on the product.
Switching is a recognised innovation pathway for medicines; the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) make the decision on whether a medicine is reclassified or not, and they have their own rigorous process which engages various advisory bodies and medical experts to support the decision making.
Therefore, before embarking on a switch, the Maxwellia team conduct considerable research into the health benefits and associated risks for the consumer; the opportunity for pharmacy, both from a service and commercial perspective; along with the wider benefits of increased access for people who want to self-care. Once a medicine has been identified and assessed internally, it will enter the DynamicSwitchTM process.
A typical switch process is split over 3 broad phases:
Pre-project (approx. 3 months)
Independent assessment of the switch – strategic, clinical, regulatory, and commercial
Preparation of documents, engagement with KOL’s and the regulator
2. Project (approx. 24-48 months)
Project planning and resource allocation, product design and build, preparation for reclassification
Write and submit reclassification documents, manage the regulatory process, prepare a go to market plan
Deliver the reclassified market authorisation
3. Commercialisation (ongoing)
Implement the go to market plan
Train healthcare professionals
Activate consumer sales in market
Monitor, evaluate, refine, repeat
Identify line extensions or further product innovations to support consumer needs
Successful switches can be game-changing for pharmacy, and life-changing for consumers.
We know that pharmacists thrive on helping the people in their communities to live a healthy life. And here at Maxwellia we thrive on helping pharmacists to provide a great service through increased choice and access to medicines in new and existing categories, allowing pharmacists to broaden their role and treat more conditions, as well as creating new revenue streams.
We look forward to working with more pharmacies over the coming months and years as our pipeline of consumer brands come to market.
Join us at the Pharmacy Show
If you would like to learn more about switching, join Maxwellia Founder and CEO, Anna Maxwell, for her keynote ‘Switch up to self-care’ at The Pharmacy Show on Monday 17th October 2022, 12.15pm-1pm.