Superdrug has launched a national free sore throat service, it has announced.

The multiple said that a new service will be made available free of charges in more than 200 Superdrug pharmacies to identify bacterial throat infections.

This comes after Celesio last month announced the launch of a £4.99 sore throat service in 600 LloydsPharmacy stores to ease GP pressure and help address antimicrobial resistance (AMR).


Free walk-in service


According to Superdrug, the free walk-in service will offer customers a 10-minute full examination, including, if necessary, a swab test, to check for bacterial sore throats.

Partnering with goods manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser (RB) on the provision of the service, Superdrug said that it will ‘help the public understand whether they need antibiotics for their sore throat’ and potentially reduce pressure on GP practices.

Superdrug superintendent pharmacist Lucy Morton-Channon said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to offer this new sore throat consultation service.

‘Often sore throats can be treated at home, but when they become more uncomfortable, pharmacists are best-placed to give people advice about how to manage their symptoms.

‘Only one in 10 sore throats will benefit from treatment with antibiotics and this consultation will be able to identify if antibiotics will help your infection.’


Lack of awareness


Although the majority of sore throats cannot be treated by antibiotics, there are still 1.2 million people in the UK who visit their GP for a sore throat every year. The manufacturers’ representative body the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB) estimated that 90% of these cases could be treated in a pharmacy.

Rachel Power, chief executive of charity the Patients Association, said that ‘most people are unaware that pharmacists can also help with more common infections, such as sore throats’.

A recent study conducted by market research consultancy Opinium and commissioned by RB found that only one in five (22%) of UK adults said they would go to a pharmacy for a sore throat.

Ms Power added: ‘This free sore throat consultation service allows the public to find out more about their infection and whether antibiotics will be an effective treatment or not.

‘The new initiative will also help in tackling the global threat of antibiotic resistance, by reducing the number of antibiotics prescribed.’