The information that Which? has published shows the advice the public received about medicines varied in quality in the 122 pharmacies they visited out of the 14,000 plus pharmacies in the UK.
Responding to the results Martin Astbury, RPS President said: “Pharmacists have the training and experience that equips them to be experts on medicines. They work extremely hard to deliver services and provide expert advice on medicines.
"The pharmacists I know won’t recognise their own practice in the results Which? have shared with us.
“Importantly, the study shows people get more consistent advice when they speak to a pharmacist. We need to think about how the pharmacy team can work together to ensure that people are able to speak to the expert - the pharmacist - when they require advice about medicines.
“The RPS wants to understand the underlying reasons for the differences highlighted by this report and how to improve consistency of the advice the public receive when they purchase medicines from a pharmacy. There are some areas which require improvement. We want to work with everyone in pharmacy to address this.
“To this end we will be holding a joint event on the sale of pharmacy medicines with the pharmacy regulator the General Pharmaceutical Council on July 8th 2013. Together, we will invite representatives from pharmacy companies, alongside business owners, pharmacists and pharmacy staff, training providers, medicine manufacturers and Which? to come together to look at how we can improve the advice people get from pharmacy when purchasing medicines.
“Secondly, and independently of this investigation, we have commissioned the University of Nottingham to look internationally for best practice on the sale of medicines through pharmacy. We will use the outcomes of this to make recommendations as to how pharmacists’ skills can be used most effectively in Great Britain to ensure the public get the best possible advice.”
“As the professional body for pharmacists we will provide leadership in this area on behalf of our members. We would like everyone in pharmacy to reflect on results of this research and commit to working with us to improve care for patients.”