Community pharmacies dominate dispensing

Community pharmacies dispensed 92.1% of all items across England between 2014/15, statistics published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre have revealed.

Figures published in the General Pharmaceutical Services England 2005/06 to 2014/15 report show that the number of community pharmacies has soared from 9,872 to 11,674.

The number of prescription items has also increased by 48.5% with 978.3million prescription items dispensed between 2014 and 2015.

The number represents 92.1% of all items dispensed in the community.

Winter surge in antibiotic prescriptions

A huge and potentially inappropriate surge in antibiotic prescriptions in the winter has been identified through the first detailed maps of seasonal prescribing in England.

The charity Antibiotic Research UK, which compiled the data for the BBC, said the surge could not be explained by extra bacterial infections. The charity has said the increase could not be explained by extra bacterial infections and it more likely to result from doctors handing out pills for colds and flu.

Call to extend HPV vaccine to all men

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is urging the government’s vaccination advisory committee (the JCVI) to extend vaccination for human papilloma virus (HPV) – currently only given to girls – to all boys.

The call to act was made ahead of the announcement expected this week of the committee’s decision on whether to extend vaccination to men who have sex with men.

HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that causes a range of cancers as well as genital warts.

It is estimated that, every year, HPV causes almost 5,000 cases of cancer and more than 39,000 cases of genital warts in women, and more than 2,000 cases of cancer and 48,000 cases of genital warts in men.

Antibiotic resistance could ‘turn the clock back 100 years’

A report published on antimicrobial resistance shows the situation continues to worsen for most bacteria and antibiotics under surveillance.

The findings released by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) show that in Italy, Greece and Malta the resistance to last-line antibiotics has become an endemic problem.

EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said: "The ECDC results show the threat of antibiotic resistance is increasing day by day.

“If left unchecked, it has the capacity to turn the clock back on medicine by a hundred years."