First counter sale of sex infection drug in the UK

August 6th, 2008 - 12:49 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 6 (IANS) Health authorities have for the first time approved across-the-counter sale of medicine and test kits for the detection and cure of a common sexually transmitted disease chlamydia without seeing a doctor. Doctors, however, have said it is a folly as chlamydia patients generally also suffer from other infections which are not detected by the kits.

The £45 service will allow patients who test positive for the sex infection to get the antibiotic azithromycin for themselves and any partners at pharmacies, without seeing a doctor.

It is for people aged 16 and over who suspect they have chlamydia, an infection that often has no symptoms but can damage fertility if left untreated. They will pay £25 at pharmacies for a kit that involves sending a urine sample by post for testing, with results sent to their home address.

Anyone who is positive will be able to spend £20 on the drug Clamelle, a single tablet made from an existing generic medicine which is cheaper on prescription, the Daily Mail said.

But leading GP, Dr Trevor Stammers, claimed it was a partial solution to an epidemic of sex infections. He said: “People who test positive for chlamydia should be tested for other sexually transmitted infections, they’ll think they’re safe and they won’t be. Letting people bypass the doctor is a short-sighted approach that may make the problem worse and could also increase antibiotic resistance.”

Chlamydia is the most common STI, accounting for 121,000 cases last year with two-thirds among 16-24-year-olds.

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