Rachel Carter speaks to Ted Gul from Stag Chemist about his Birmingham pharmacy's erectile dysfunction service.

Name of pharmacy: Stag Chemist

Name of pharmacist: Ted Gul

How long have you been offering this service? Since 2019.

Why did you start offering the service? There was a high demand for an erectile dysfunction service in this locality. I think it’s a subject that’s maybe seen as taboo or not normal and I think pharmacists are quite easy to get hold of and talk to.

There are issues with access to the NHS, GPs are hard to get hold of and once they pick up the phone, there might be a two week waiting list for an appointment. Or, for some people they are having to speak to their family doctor about this problem and that’s quite a difficult situation because they know your family.

So, as a pharmacy we felt we could provide access, immediate pharmaceutical advice and products, and there’s trust in our profession.

How much did it cost you to set up the service? Under £100 - we purchased the Patient Group Direction (PGD) package from Pharmadoctor.

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo? I undertook a specialist face-to-face training as a prescriber, it was a three hour session with a consultant urologist at a CPD learning event.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve? We take the patient into the consultation room and allow them to talk to us in confidence about the issues they are facing, why they think they have erectile dysfunction and what their understanding is of the problem.

We also discuss whether they have any co-morbidities, drug interactions or any other clinical issues that we need to be mindful of.

We then explain to them what the service involves. We do focus on lifestyle, how people live, what they eat and so on, and discuss some practical measures that they can take. We also find out what they’ve tried already and then we will go through with them what treatment is available for them.

We offer prescription-only and over the counter medications as part of the service, such as sildenafil (viagra). We also refer patients back to their GP to have their testosterone levels tested, or if they are trying for a baby and finding it difficult to conceive, to discuss family-planning options.

Are there any opportunities to sell over the counter or prescription products during the consultation or after it? Yes - sildenafil and tadalafil.

How have patients responded to the service? Patients have responded well - there have been good outcomes and good feedback.

Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service? We see around 12 patients each month. 

How much do you charge for the service? The consultation is free, we just charge for the product itself. It’s around £10 for a box of eight sildenafil (viagra) 100mg tablets. 

Roughly how much a month do you make from offering the service? It’s difficult to put a monthly figure on it, but I’d estimate that we make around £5 per patient that we see.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors? Yes I would - we do it because of the patient demand but obviously there is an additional income to it as well. We don’t make a lot of money from it, but it’s also that added value of bringing in those customers and it helps to build up the goodwill of the business.