LONDON, January 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The availability of anti-obesity drug Orlistat from pharmacies provides accessible and convenient care for patients, said the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB).

David Pruce, RPSGB Director of Policy and Communications said: We fully support the move to make Orlistat available in pharmacies without prescription. Pharmacists' roles are changing and this is great opportunity to make a real impact on improving patients' health.

Pharmacists are highly visible in the community and are ideally placed to tackle the country's growing obesity problem. Community pharmacists can help thousands of people, not only with their weight-loss goals, but with their lifestyle choices too.

Pharmacists are already providing weight-management advice to the public and offer services such as blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol testing and diabetes testing. The availability of Orlistat is another tool pharmacists can use to assist people with their weight issues. Orlistat must be used alongside a healthy eating and exercise plan and pharmacists will be advising people about changing their lifestyle alongside supplying Orlistat.

Orlistat, currently licensed as a prescription-only medicine, will be made available for sale from pharmacies later in the year, without a prescription. The RPSGB will provide comprehensive training material and guidance to all community pharmacists prior to the drug going on sale.

Notes to editors


- Obesity is a major health concern in the UK, accounting for 30,000 deaths each year

- Orlistat, known commercially as alli, will be available over the counter in a 60mg formulation - half the strength of that prescribed by doctors

- Pharmacists will assess patients' suitability for Orlistat by measuring Body Mass Index (BMI); adults with a BMI of 28 or more will be considered suitable for the treatment


Pharmacists are among the most accessible healthcare professionals. Research has shown that the vast majority of the public has easy access to pharmacies: 99% of the population can reach a community pharmacy by car, by walking or by public transport within 20 minutes.

About the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) is the professional and regulatory body for pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales. It also regulates pharmacy technicians on a voluntary basis, which is expected to become statutory under anticipated legislation.

The primary objectives of the RPSGB are to lead, regulate, develop and represent the profession of pharmacy. The RPSGB leads and supports the development of the profession within the context of the public benefit. This includes the advancement of science, practice, education and knowledge in pharmacy. In addition, it promotes the profession's policies and views to a range of external stakeholders in a number of different forums.

Following the publication in 2007 of the Government White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety - The Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century, the RPSGB is working towards the demerger of its regulatory and professional roles. This will see the establishment of a new General Pharmaceutical Council and a new professional body for pharmacy in 2010.

For media enquiries please contact the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's Public Relations Unit, +44(0)20-7572-2336