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Asthma UK community forum
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blue reliever inhalers available without prescription

Not useful for me as my children are the asthmatics but this may help a lot of you especially with prescription charges going up each year.


11 Replies

I have to say I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand I think this is good if you have run out or forgotten your inhaler when out and about that you can easily pick up a replacement. Though concerned that in the long term who is keeping an eye on how much reliever inhaler you are using and making sure that you step up or down with your other asthma medications as needed.


My thoughts exactly Malawi.


I'm not sure about this idea either but am slightly reassured that a pharmacist is present and you have to fill in a form and cannot buy more within 8 weeks (BBC website) but what happens if you go to different Asda stores?

I prefer people being encouraged to be organised with their prescriptions and always order more when starting the spare one.


Morning all,

I agree with you all. I think it could be a good idea if you get caught short, but most of us would be organised. I ran out once and my pharmacist gave me one and I took in the repeat and he deducted it from that.

I think it needs alot of careful monitoring.

Lisa x


Definitely agree with all this - wonder if they could have a computer record so when you go to a different Asda they pull your name up and it shows how many you've had?

Absolutely agree that someone should be keeping an eye on things (my pharmacist does) and that organisation is good, but do think this could be useful eg if you're away from home, so you don't have a pharmacist who knows you and can't get to your GP, and you run out or realise you've forgotten yours (I once thought I had mine on me but it turned out to be the empty one I hadn't removed from my bag yet - and I was headed for a spa day, where there is much humidity! oops) Everyone forgets at some point and while it's not good it's obviously better to have the inhaler than being stranded without one.

Wonder if they'll roll it out to other supermarkets, as I don't have an Asda near me? Of course since I'm not currently even on Ventolin it's a moot point anyway ;)


i like this simply because i object to paying £7.65 for one inhaler when i know the one i'm on costs less than £3 on private prescription so it must be fairly cheap to manufacture / distribute. My asthma is not severe, i'm only on 2 inhalers and i *can* afford the prescription cost it just annoys me!


I'm in two minds about this, like its been mentioned great if you get caught short.

However I think there's a real chance that people will abuse this. How can they effectively prove that you need that medication and what is going to stop attention seekers etc from buying one when they don't need it and using it to get out of things at work / school by blaming ""asthma"", which will inevitably lead to people taking genuine asthma sufferers less seriously. Something which I've had happen to me in my workplace because of people using mild asthma to get out of grotty tasks, when I said I couldn't manage something due to my asthma I was told I was over exaggerating and ultimately ended up in hospital after my shift.


I can understand why people will go for the reduced cost. However, I think this is a seperate discussion (cost of meds vs NHS charges must be an issue for a number of conditions).

I don't agree with Asda selling this stuff without in this way. For those of us who understand our asthma and who know when to hit the panic button, its fine. My concern is for those who don't and go to Asda rather than going through their GP - who would possibly notice when something was amiss.

I pay for my son's inhalers, he's on step 1. He'd probably be happy to keep taking ventolin until he was ready for A&E, rather than see the nurse or GP. He's at that ""immortal"" stage in life! Having the stuff very easily available together with a bit of intelligence (to guess what answers they probably want to hear - if people don't understand the dangers they may well do this) and I don't see him having any difficulty. Other than the panic he'll get if he winds up needing to call 999 because he hasn't moved to step 2 in time.

Well, that won't happen as I supply the inhalers when he needs them, much easier if your mum'll do it with no forms. I wonder if others will have the protection they need though? I suspect the form to be filled in will protect the retailer, eg. if someone gives an incorrect answer I can't see how ASDA could carry any liability with no medical history etc.

Doesn't this make Ventolin, effectively, an ""over the counter"" drug? If they can do this, then I don't see why they shouldn't put it on the shelf next to the plasters?


The ventolin isn't going to be found end of aisle or beside the sweets at the till. You have to go to Asda's Pharmacy and fill in a long form before ever getting near the stuff. I am sure there are systems in place that mean you can't nip around all the Asda and stock up on more than one at a time.

Asda pharmacy rules as explained on BBC Breakfast the other day, would appear to be more on the ball than my previous GP practice where I'm quite sure they were totally unaware of how many blue inhalers I was going through before I raised it myself. Had to really push them to prescribe something different in the preventer league.

For myself, on a Sunday when local pharmacy closed, I remembered too late to go back on a day trip, that I had changed jackets and left my blue inhaler at home. Fortunately I did not need it on that day but I would have been quite stuck had we been stopped in traffic with rose-bay willow herb at the road verge or diesel fumes from lorry in front of us.

Had I been able to access an Asda pharmacy, my worries for that day would have been lessened considerably as all I kept thinking about was my pockets, empty of blue inhaler.


Can see both sides of this one hmmph

Suppose it's advantageous. If your a salbutamol user which I'm not !

Granny Mo I rather like the idea of finding them in the sweetie aisle tho proves my point chocolates good for anything hehe ;)


I love this! My asthma nurse decided to take it upon herself to reduce my ventolin inhalers to 1 per prescription but by going to the supermarket, I get double the inhalers for less te price!!! Sweet!


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