The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency last week approved proposals to make the generic drug azithromycin available over-the-counter in pharmacists. The ruling applies to only one brand of the drug, made by Actavis UK and who will market it under the name Clamelle.
The oral antibiotic will be available to people 16 years and over if they have tested positive for chlamydia infection and have no symptoms, and for their sexual partners. Actavis is working with the National Pharmacy Association on training materials for pharmacists and a Clamelle-branded chlamydia testing kit.
Dr June Raine, MHRA director of vigilance and risk management of medicines, said, ‘Up to 70% of people who have chlamydia have no symptoms and could therefore remain undiagnosed. This means that they are at huge risk of serious long-term health complications, including infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
‘Today’s move means that symptom–free people diagnosed with Chlamydia and their partner will be able to get convenient effective treatment from their local pharmacy,’ she said.
Natika Halil, director of information at the Family Planning Association, said: ‘For people who are already testing themselves at home it is a really positive step forward that the treatment can now also be bought from pharmacies.
‘This service has the potential to play an important part in reducing rates of chlamydia,’ she said.