Rachel Carter talks to Terry Reid from Reid's Pharmacy about how his men’s health service helps patients with erectile dysfunction.

Name of pharmacy: Reid's Pharmacy

Name of pharmacist: Terry Reid.

Why did you start offering the service?

We've been offering this service since 2013. After taking on a travel health service through Pharmadoctor, we had access to a whole range of other packages as well. We decided to purchase another Patient Group Direction (PGD) for men’s health, looking mainly at erectile dysfunction and hair loss. 

How much did it cost to set up the service?

I can’t remember, but there were no major costs and it was straightforward because the products involved were readily available in the pharmacy.

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo?

Three days of training were provided as part of the PGD and I also looked at relevant learning from the CPPE. The training package that comes with Pharmadoctor is excellent, but I always advise people to do a lot more research behind it - there’s always a lot more to learn. We also have to complete online training annually as part of renewing the PGD.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve?

We would take the patient into the consultation room, sit down and have a chat. We would go through a risk assessment with them and discuss their current health, before taking them through the medicines available and finding the best product for them. The whole consultation generally takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Are there any opportunities to sell over the counter or prescription products during the consultation or after it?

There is OTC Viagra now, but the PGD covers that as well. Sildenafil and tadalafil (Cialis is one of the popular brands) are the main items for erectile dysfunction. For hair loss, Propecia (finasteride) is the main prescription-only product, and Regaine is the OTC product we offer.

How have patients responded to the service?

It is something we get people coming for because we offer it, but I’ve not exploited it to the best of our ability or done any real marketing on it yet.

We’ve seen more patients for erectile dysfunction than hair loss. But now Viagra is available over the counter, I have seen a reduction in patients coming in for the consultation element. However, I still feel there is an opportunity that can be maximised with both areas, providing we are prepared to put the resources in and let men know they can come to see us.

Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service?

I would say two or three times a month.

How much do you charge for the service?

I would prefer not to share what we charge, but our charge includes the cost of the medicine plus we factor in a little bit for our [the pharmacist’s] time.

Roughly how much a month do you make from offering the service?

Figures not available.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

I wouldn’t recommend that any contractor takes on any service unless they feel they need to. It has to be what’s right for them, what they’re passionate about and what they believe there is a need for in their community.

Men’s health is easy because there is always a need for it, but is there enough of a need to fund a whole marketing campaign behind it? That can only be determined by the amount of passion there is - if someone is passionate, then they will put the effort in and get it working in one way or another.

Offering these services is getting us community pharmacists away from the dispensary and the counter and into our clinics a bit more though, and it’s strengthening us in that respect. So, I think once we are doing more of that, more services will come along and it will be easier to do. It’s about trying to break free and step out somewhere new, which is always challenging.