UK pharmacy chain Boots accused of abusing medicine use reviews

Managers at Boots, the UK's biggest pharmacy chain, had been pressuring their pharmacists to abuse Medicine Use Reviews, providing them to patients who did not need them or could not use them, the Guardian reported.

The firm has had been accused of pressuring pharmacists into carrying out the unnecessary health checks meant for patients who had recently been discharged from hospital, those taking high-risk medication, or individuals who had a serious condition.

Pharmacists carry out MUR and they offer patients health, diet and medicines management advice.

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) paid £28 for each MUR carried out, which were limited to 400 per pharmacy to prevent abuse.

However, according to Guardian reporter Aditya Chakrabortty, Boots stores had been found to be using that number as a target to aim for, rather than a ceiling.

''The Guardian has seen a 2008 email from a senior manager for another region that states: 'I personally don't want colleagues to feel 'brow-beaten' but we do need to deliver our targets of 400 MCUs [medicine check-ups – another name for MURs] per store this financial year for two reasons:

'''1. Delivering 400 MCUs is a measure of Excellent Patient Care

'''2. The company can make £28 profit for each MCU, so each one we don't deliver is a lost £28','' writes Chakrabortty.

Meanwhile, Boots told The Drum that it "doesn't recognise" claims that had been made in a Guardian investigation accusing the brand of forcing staff to exploit an NHS scheme to boost profits.

The company's PR machine was now gearing up to limit potential damage that could be inflicted on the brand from the allegations. A statement sent to The Drum from a spokesperson said: "We don't recognise the claims in today's press which are not representative of the 60,000 colleagues who work for Boots UK and our commitment to developing healthcare further."