Lloyds Pharmacy in the UK is partnering with Liva Healthcare to provide a weight loss programme combining medical and digital interventions.
With 1,400 stores across the UK, the pharmacy is launching a nationwide medicated weight loss service and access to regular consultations with a pharmacist, combined with Liva’s digital health coaching programme. Both the pharmacist consultations and the online coaching are said to be personalised.
To qualify for the programme, patients must have a BMI above 30, or over 27 with a weight-related comorbidity. Patients will have an initial consultation with a pharmacist to discuss health, check vitals, and explain how to take medication. They will also be able to choose a health coach and receive weekly video consultations on Liva UK’s app.
Obesity in the UK
Figures published by NHS Digital in May 2020 reveal that the majority of the UK’s adult population is overweight. 67% of men and 60% of women have a BMI of at least 25. More than a quarter of men and women are deemed to be obese, with a BMI of 30 or more.
Obesity was either the primary or secondary diagnosis in 876,000 hospital admissions in the year 2018/19. The most common diagnoses where obesity was a contributing factor were for maternity issues, knee and hip problems, gallstones, and heart disease.
More recently, the evidence so far suggests that obesity is associated with a higher risk of developing severe symptoms and complications of COVID-19.
Rune Bech, co-founder of Liva Healthcare, says: “we’ve seen that people are more successful with their weight-loss and lifestyle changes when they have a personal health coach providing ongoing advice through our digital programme.”
Mark Weston, B2B services manager at McKesson UK, parent company of LloydsPharmacy added: “Statistics show that when weight medications are taken as part of a structured programme, up to 65% of patients will lose at least 5% of their weight, with a significant proportion achieving 10% weight loss.”
Since 2010, the only drug approved in the UK for the management of obesity is Orlistat, which reduces the absorption of dietary fat. Clinical guidelines state that pharmacological interventions should only be used in conjunction with other interventions such as exercise and diet.
Liva Healthcare was founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2014 by Carl Brandt, Kristoffer From, and Rune Bech.