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Well criticised for causing prescription ‘panic’ with text message

Well Pharmacy has been criticised for sending a text message to patients warning them to prepare for coronavirus disruption by arranging to get their medicines “as soon as possible”. 

The text, which was sent on Wednesday September 30, read: “Be prepared for potential Covid-19 disruption: Order your prescription from your GP and collect any outstanding medicines from your local Well as soon as possible.”

A text sent by Well to patients on September 30 (Kieran Eason)

Concerns were raised that the message could spark panic among patients and potentially lead to medication stockpiling such as took place in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tamworth pharmacist Kieran Eason shared a screenshot of the message on Twitter and asked: “Aren’t texts like this a little counterproductive? Surely just encouraged people to over-order for no reason? “

Another pharmacist said the message “goes against NHSE advice re stockpiling… Baseless scaremongering.”

Others reported that local GP practices had been “inundated” with calls from patients worried that a second “full lockdown” was imminent.

Well: We apologise for misunderstanding

When approached by Pharmacy Network News, a spokesperson for Well Pharmacy explained that the text had gone out to customers who have previously provided their details in order to receive messages about Well services.

They acknowledged the message had caused concerns around medicine supplies for some patients and stressed that stockpiling is unnecessary.

The company issued the following statement to PNN: “We recognise the text message may have inadvertently - and unintentionally - caused concern for some patients and we would like to reassure all our customers that there is no need to order additional medication that goes in advance of their normal repeat cycle.

“We apologise for any misunderstanding - we simply wanted to remind patients to collect existing medication and given the number of local restrictions due to increasing rates of Covid-19, felt it timely to suggest they may need to consider when their prescription is next due.  

“If any member of the public has any concerns, please phone your local Well Pharmacy who will be pleased to help”.

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