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Boots UK Pharmacists Prepare for ‘Iron Overload’

03 December 2015
News Healthcare

Genetic Haemochromatosis (GH) is an inherited condition in which the body absorbs too much iron from food. It is under diagnosed across the UK, yet is one of the most common genetic disorders in people of Northern European origin. 

Working with the Haemochromatosis Society, Boots UK pharmacists now have access to training that has been designed in collaboration with the Haemochromatosis Society. Pharmacists and can often be the first healthcare professionals that patients come in to contact with as early symptoms present themselves, so it’s important that they are able to recognise these and signpost these patients to their GP. The training package is aimed at increasing knowledge about the causes, symptoms, risks and management of Genetic Haemochromatosis which is also sometimes referred to as ‘Iron Overload Disorder’. 

The training module will also be made available for non-Boots pharmacists.

People with undiagnosed ‘Iron Overload Disorder’ may come into a pharmacy, with symptoms of tiredness, thinking they need vitamin or iron supplements to help. However, unknown, to them, is that they have a hidden condition and that taking additional iron supplements can worsen the condition. As well as symptoms of tiredness, ‘Iron Overload’ symptoms include joint pain, abdominal pains and skin discolouration and the training can help raise awareness of the possible symptoms in the pharmacy setting.

Philip Tordoff, Clinical Governance Manager at Boots UK comments;

It is fantastic to work with a specialist organisation like the Haemochromatosis Society to create professional training modules that are accessible to our healthcare professionals, who continually seek to develop their capability in order to make a huge difference to people’s lives.   

Laura Parker, 31, who has recently been diagnosed as having the disorder comments;

“I went to the Doctor about six months ago because I had a constant sore knee. They ran some blood tests and I was diagnosed as having Genetic Haemochromatosis.  It was the first known case in my family, and as a result, my immediate relatives started to get tested. Now my brother has also been identified as having the condition even more severely than me and the rest of the family are being checked out. It is really reassuring to know that healthcare professionals in the local pharmacy are aware of the condition and able to discuss the condition with me.”

David Head, Chief Executive at the Haemochromatosis Society comments:

“GH can lead to toxic levels of iron building up in the body, causing all sort of major problems, including organ damage, joint damage, diabetes and fatigue. We met with Boots UK who have been extremely supportive and willing to roll out training to their pharmacists as well as help us make it accessible to other pharmacists across the UK. It’s no exaggeration to say that improving the  levels of knowledge and understanding has the potential to prevent very serious illness or even save lives, after all GH is eminently treatable if diagnosed at an early enough stage”.

The training package is being made available through Boots’ internal systems and copies can also be obtained from the Haemochromatosis Society.


Notes for editors

For more information about GH please visit

For further press information please contact Claire Stuart or telephone 0115 959 5995

About Boots UK

Boots UK (, the UK’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.  With 2,510* stores in the UK, Boots UK is committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care, be the first choice for pharmacy and healthcare and offer innovative 'only at Boots' exclusive products such as the UK’s leading skincare brand No7, all delivered with the great value customers love. Created over 165 years ago, the Boots brand is still at the heart of the communities it serves.

*As at 31 August 2015 excluding equity method investments


About The Haemochromotosis Society

The Haemochromatosis Society is a patient organisation. It exists to support people affected by genetic Haemochromatosis and their families, to encourage research into the condition and its management, and to educate healthcare professionals, policy makers, patients and others. Early diagnosis saves lives; Haemochromatosis if identified early can be readily treated and patients can enjoy a normal lifespan and good quality of life.


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and around 1,900 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 31 May 2024