Pharmacy Voice welcomes new NICE public health guidelines which highlight ways community pharmacies could help increase uptake of Vitamin D supplements. Around 1 in 5 adults and around 1 in 6 children, equating to around 10 million people in England, may have low vitamin D status, which can lead to rickets in children and weaker bones in adults, which causes pain.
NICE guideline recommendations include:
- The Department of Health should amend existing legislation to allow Healthy Start vitamins to be more widely distributed and sold and encourage manufacturers to sell them direct to pharmacies
- Local authorities should ensure supplements containing the recommended amount of vitamin D are widely available for all at-risk groups in local settings such as pharmacies, children’s centres, and GP reception areas
- Local authorities They should consider providing free supplements for at risk groups, and encourage pharmacies and other outlets selling food supplements to stock the lowest cost vitamin D supplements and promote them to at-risk groups
- National activities should be developed to raise awareness about the importance of vitamin D among doctors, nurses, other professionals and the public.
Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice commented: “Community pharmacies are highly accessible to the public, and with over 1.6 million visits every day to pharmacies there are numerous opportunities to highlight the importance of vitamin D for good health, especially to at-risk groups. Uptake of Healthy Start supplements among pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children is reported to be less than 10% and as these groups are regular visitors to community pharmacies we know greater promotion and availability of vitamin D supplements in pharmacy could help improve the health of new mothers and children.
Notes to editors
The guidance, “Vitamin D: increasing supplement use among at-risk groups”, is available atwww.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph56
Pharmacy Voice was formed by the three largest community pharmacy owner associations to create a stronger, unified voice for their independent and multiple members. The founding members of Pharmacy Voice are the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).
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