LONDON, January 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to news today that 1 million prescriptions per year are now made for obesity drugs, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) has called for more awareness about the role played by community pharmacy.

Pharmacists are expert healthcare professionals and have a major role to play in public health - they are based in every community and offer advice, support and clinical treatment for a range of conditions, including obesity.

David Pruce, The RPSGB's Director of Practice and Quality Improvement, says:

"While anti-obesity drugs do have an important role to play in tackling the widespread obesity problem, it is important that the public are aware of the holistic approaches in weight management which are available through community pharmacies."

"There are models currently being offered in a number of areas which are utilising the skills of pharmacists to offer lifestyle advice for people in order to manage their weight in the long-term."

"A fine example of this is the work being undertaken through a scheme by Coventry Teaching Primary Care Trust, providing individualised, pharmacist-led services for patients with obesity problems. Schemes of this type focus on concordance - setting achievable goals that lead to sustainable changes without the use of medication to quickly lose weight. In fact, as a result of these schemes some of the patients can realistically expect to require less medication for treating their conditions in the future."

"Pharmacists now have a greater responsibility for delivering the promotion of healthier lifestyles and community pharmacies are well placed to play an effective part in the management of obesity and obesity-linked illnesses. They are among the most accessible healthcare professionals, with branches open in the high street at convenient times, often when GP surgeries are closed - 99% of people can reach a pharmacy within 20 minutes and many offer private consultation rooms."

For media enquiries please contact the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's Public Relations Unit +44(0)20-7572-2335