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Asthma: Medical Equipment

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 83862, tabled on 1 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent what comparative assessment he has made of the (a) availability and (b) level of use of short-acting beta agonist (SABA) blue inhalers for the treatment of asthma in the UK and internationally.

Answered on

14 September 2020

Pre-COVID-19, an average of 2.25 million short-acting beta agonist (SABA) inhalers were prescribed per month in England. This is over 450 million doses of a medicine that should only be used when needed for shortness of breath. This over-use of SABA inhalers can occur due to multiple reasons. The work of the national respiratory programme is looking to address these issues.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan objectives, pharmacists in primary care networks will undertake a range of medicines reviews, including structured medicines reviews. In addition to educating patients on the correct use of inhalers and checking and adjusting patient’s inhaler technique. This will ensure that not only do patients understand how to take their medicines, but why they are important and enable patients/carers to ask questions with the pharmacist.