UK: Pharmacy to offer Ramadan service

A famed pharmacy chain in Britain will offer a special medical service for Muslims during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, to help patients observe the dawn to dusk fasting without endangering their health.

"We know that during Ramadan many patients change the times they take their medicines, or even the number of doses they take each day, without first seeking medical advice," Adrian Price, Professional Practice Manager of the Co-operative Pharmacy chain, told The Telegraph on Tuesday, August 19.

"Spending a few minutes discussing their plans with a pharmacist can identify potential problems and discuss possible solutions."

The Co-operative Pharmacy, the third largest pharmacy chain in the UK with over 800 branches, is offering free checks for Muslim customers during Ramadan, expected to fall on the first of September.

"We encourage all our regular customers to have a medicine check but with Ramadan approaching they are particularly useful for people intending to fast."

During the month, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, is also a time for Muslims to feel closer to God through prayer and self-restraint.


The chain has trained pharmacists at 40 branches in areas with large populations of Muslims.

They will guide Muslims on how to fast without undermining the effectiveness of drugs and on the dangers of changing the times of prescribed medications without consultation.

"For example, longer-acting slow-release alternative drugs may be available," explained Price.

"We're not making assumptions about how Muslim patients might act, but we strongly recommend they talk to their pharmacist."

The high-street pharmacy chain has already published ads to introduce the new service on its website in English, Urdu and Bengali.

Britain is home to a sizable, multi-ethnic Muslim minority of nearly 2 million, mainly from Pakistani, Bengali and Indian backgrounds.

Price insists the Ramadan service aims at showing understanding to the religious needs of the Muslim customers.

"We appreciate the importance of cultural understanding and sensitivity when discussing the implications on health care of people's religious beliefs."

Source: Islam Online (English)

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