NEWS Dispensing news A round-up of the biggest stories affecting your dispensary. Reporting by Léa Legraien 1 Stockpiling could create panic and restrict medicine supplies, RPS warns Research spotlight Use honey first instead of antibiotics to treat cough, NICE recommends Honey and over-the-counter (OTC) treatments should be used first to treat a patient’s cough, rather than antibiotics, NICE has recommended. In draft guidance published on 23 August, NICE said that antibiotics ‘make little difference to a person’s symptoms’ and advised clinicians to not offer them in most cases. NICE antimicrobial prescribing guideline group chair and GP Dr Tessa Lewis said: ‘If someone has a runny nose, sore throat and cough, we would expect the cough to settle over two to three weeks and antibiotics aren’t needed. ‘If the cough is getting worse rather than better or the person feels very unwell or breathless then they would need to contact their GP.’ The advice comes as the Government is trying to tackle antimicrobial resistance, which is a ‘huge problem’, according to Public Health England (PHE). 8 | The Pharmacist | September/October 2018 EXCLUSIVE The Government’s plan to stockpile six weeks’ worth of medicines could result in the public panicking and lead to restricted access to drug supplies, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has warned. In August, the Government asked pharmaceutical companies to hold a further six weeks’ supply on top of their usual buffer stocks in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It has, however, advised community pharmacies not to stockpile additional medicines beyond their usual stock levels. RPS president Ash Soni told The Pharmacist on 11 September: ‘It’s a good thing that somebody is thinking about what needs to be done to make sure we have sufficient stock for the UK market. ‘But if you create panic it’s likely that what you’re talking about as a potential becomes reality. ‘That will have real implications on how long the stock will last. It’s all very well to say “have stocks to last six weeks” but if you were in a position where the public have more concerns, they themselves may start to look at increasing what they’re holding. [Then] that six-week [stockpile] doesn’t last six weeks but only four.’ • For more on Brexit, see page 12 Scotland: every patient to have access to 2 minor ailments service ‘in coming year’ The minor ailments service (MAS) will soon be made available to ‘all’ in Scotland, the Scottish Government has revealed. In its 2018/19 programme, published on 4 September, the Scottish Government said it will extend the MAS, which will cover more common conditions, to every person in the country in the coming year.