Hackney pharmacy first to sell paternity tests

A man having his mouth swabbed for DNA. Photo: Emily Jupp

A man having his mouth swabbed for DNA. Photo: Emily Jupp

A pharmacy in Hackney has become the first retailer in the UK to sell DNA paternity tests over the counter.

Clockwork Pharmacy in Mare Street has caused concern in the local community by stocking the kits.

A sample from the cheek of both father and child is required for the £149 pack, then the swabs are sent to a laboratory to determine fatherhood.

Previously tests had only been commercially available at walk-in clinics or online. They can also be arranged to screen for diseases or by order of the police, for instance, in a rape case.

Prashant Patel, owner of Clockwork Pharmacy, spoke to East London Lines. “We’ve had a lot of phone calls about the service since the kits went on sale.

“It’s actually not a new service, we’ve offered a paternity testing service for the last five years. But this is the first time that people have been able to walk in and do it themselves.

“We make sure that people consult with a pharmacist if they wish to have the test so families are supported through the process.

“In our experience, if people seek confirmation of paternity then there is already a problem in the family. In most cases, finding out is a relief, whatever the outcome.”

When asked what type of product briefing he had been given had about the DNA paternity test, Mr Patel said: “I am a qualified pharmacist, so I can answer any questions relating to the technical aspects of testing.”

A spokesperson from Hackney–based national charity Families Need Fathers said, “We would caution anyone thinking of using a kit to seek professional help and counselling in advance, as the test results could be surprising.”

A spokesperson for Boots pharmacies said that their company was not currently considering stocking the tests.

International Biosciences, the manufacturer of the over-the-counter kits, said it was offering counselling to buyers.