Medicines supply threatened by law change, pharmacists warn

Patients may be not able to obtain the treatments they need unless planned changes in medicines regulation are revised, pharmacy groups have warned.

Pharmacy Voice and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) have both raised concerns around the MHRA’s review of medicines regulation. The review sets out changes to regulations around manufacturing of medicines and wholesale dealing.

Sue Sharpe, Chief Executive of PSNC, said that changing the regulations around wholesale dealing would obstruct pharmacists in getting patients their medicines quickly and safely.

‘At a time where pharmacists are experiencing serious supply issues as a result of the indefensible supply problems with many important medicines, responsible professional-to-professional selling can inject much needed flexibility into the local medicines supply-chain,’ she said.

Ms Sharpe said the MHRA must gather and consider ‘a full and representative range of input’ before final decisions are made.

However, Pharmacy Voice and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) both welcome the MHRA’s plans to decriminalise dispensing errors by pharmacists.

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said the current situation, whereby community pharmacists are the only healthcare profession that can face prosecution for non negligent errors, was ‘wholly unacceptable’.

The provisions were, he said, ‘never intended to deal with such errors’, but to ‘retain control over sellers or manufacturers who deliberately or negligently provide substandard medicines’.

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