The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) released a new Travel service, last Sunday, at their seminar in London. Overall, the cost to set up the service is £399, plus a £155 charge to pharmacists who have not had vaccine training before, plus additional charges every time the pharmacist gives out a vaccine or medicine. The service has merits, in that it can provide an access point into Travel medicine, however, there are numerous downfalls. The main problem is that all consultations are performed online and there is no to little reliance on the inherent clinical skills of the pharmacist (apart from being able to give the vaccine), in addition, the PGD scheme:
- Lacks doxycycline - this is one of the most popular antimalarials available which is not included in the NPA's service, although there may be a blanket removal by the DoH in the future.
- Fully web reliant - if the internet goes down, so too does the pharmacists travel service provision. What if the pharmacist has a patient booked in, they arrive and they cannot give them the vaccine? There is no paper copy alternative.
- Formulation specific - pharmacists can only offer the oral typhoid vaccine, which is 3 doses, the patient will need to come back to the pharmacy every time for the vaccine to remain VAT exempt.This is one fo the most popular travel vaccines. In addition to this, NPA have locked down the formulations mainly to a few expensive GSK lines, for instance the have not included Epaxcel which is at least £5 cheaper than the included Havrix line.
- Lack of conditions - the NPA Travel PGDs do not have Japanese encephalitis, Tick borne encephalitis, cholera and MMR.
- Paediatric and yellow fever upgrade is also not available to Consult and Treat members.