Healthy living pharmacies (HLPs) should follow in hospitals’ footsteps and reduce their sales of sugary drinks, a charity has said.

A report published last week (2 November) by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) called on HLPs to follow hospitals’ lead and cut the sales of sugar-sweetened beverage to tackle obesity levels.

Reducing sugary drink sales

The RSPH said that HLPs across the UK should ‘follow the lead of hospitals and reduce the sales of sugary drinks’.

The report read: 'Initial steps towards this would include minimising stocking sugary products and reviewing placement and visibility of products so that water and non-sugary drinks are at eye level.

‘While genuine health reasons for needing sugary products should not be overlooked, there is much scope for reducing sales of sugary products and aiming for the same sales levels as NHS trusts.’

Last year, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens challenged trusts to cut their sales of sugar-filled drinks to 10% or less of all their drinks sales to battle the ‘growing obesity epidemic across the country’.

As a result, almost 30 million teaspoons of sugar were removed from hospitals’ canteens, shops and vending machines.

Leading the way

According to NHS Digital, there are 11,619 community pharmacies in England, of which 75% (8,763) are registered with and accredited by the RSPH as HLPs.

Consultancy company Pharmacy Complete managing director Deborah Evans agreed that HLPs are well placed to help the NHS slash sugar intake by cutting sugary drink sales.

She told The Pharmacist today (8 November): ‘HLPs should present a health and wellbeing environment to the customers and patients coming into their pharmacies and consider how the products they stock reflect this from a customer’s perspective.

‘With obesity in children and adults on the rise and the significant impact this has on the health of individuals and the population pharmacy is well placed to take a leadership role on this issue.’

On Monday (5 November), the Government said that pharmacists are in a ‘unique position’ to help people live healthy lives, with HLPs delivering a wide range of lifestyle and health interventions and promoting wellbeing and self-care services.