Good medicine just gets easier

Have you ever wished you could avoid spending time in a doctor’s waiting room packed with patients coughing and spluttering all over you?

The growing list of services on offer by some pharmacies now includes helping customers who are not sick enough to visit the GP to bypass medical clinics altogether.

They can include $5 finger-prick testing for blood-sugar levels and coeliac disease, free blood pressure monitoring, tests for anemia, cholesterol, oral health, medication reviews and management, and affordable flu injections.

While costs may vary from one chemist to another, generally, those aged 65 and over will pay around $9.95 for a flu shot, according to chemist chain PharmaSave. There is no need for a doctor’s prescription and the price includes the vaccine and the service. It’s great value if you are not eligible to be bulk-billed by your GP, potentially saving you more than $70 as well as an uncomfortable stint in the waiting room.

Pharmacists can also issue absence from work certificates for around $20 and send you an SMS to remind you when to obtain a prescription for your medicines.

A more recent initiative is myDNA Testing, a comprehensive analysis of how likely you are to respond to a particular drug. On a genetic level, the test can ascertain if a medicine you have been prescribed will be effective and indicate that an alternative drug may work better. At $99 for screening one medication to $149 for multiple screenings, it isn’t cheap, but the benefits are big. It takes the guesswork out of a doctor’s prescription and potentially saves time and misery.

The testing could be particularly useful for elusive illnesses, such as depression, in which patients may need to experiment with several different types of anti-depressants before they find one that works for them, according to PharmaSave.

Finally, pharmacists are highly trained professionals who should not be overlooked for advice about health concerns. They can recommend over-the-counter medications for various health conditions and will advise you to visit your GP if they consider it necessary.

Some pharmacies even have private consultation rooms if you want to discuss your condition away from the public space.

Have you ever been lucky enough to avoid going to the doctor’s after consulting a pharmacist? Would you have your DNA screened to understand if you have been prescribed the most effective drug?

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Written by Olga Galacho

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