Today’s (08/11/12) debate on the Scottish Government drug strategy, ‘The Road to Recovery’ was a welcome opportunity to find a new consensus for tackling Scotland’s drug problems. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society welcomes the supportive speeches made by many MSPs about the value of the work pharmacists carry out in dispensing methadone to heroin addicts.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is very disappointed however that Jenny Marra MSP, the Scottish Labour Community Safety spokesperson, chose to take this opportunity to attack the thousands of pharmacists in Scotland who dispense methadone.
Alex MacKinnon, Director for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland said, “Ms Marra has accused Scotland’s pharmacists of being “methadone millionaires who profit exponentially from the misery of recovering addicts at taxpayers’ expense”. She has been pictured holding up headlines describing pharmacists as ‘the biggest drug dealers in Scotland’.
“We are extremely concerned that this brings the profession of pharmacy into disrepute and does Scotland’s frontline community pharmacists a great disservice as they carry out their NHS duties.
“Community pharmacists and their staff are absolutely committed to delivering high levels of pharmaceutical care to people with drug misuse problems.
“In supplying methadone, they are only fulfilling their contractual responsibilities to dispense an NHS prescription when it is presented to them by a patient.
“For community pharmacists to be ridiculed and attacked in such a way for carrying out the provision of an NHS service is absolutely unacceptable.
“I would have hoped that such comments would be reserved for the drug gangs who blight our communities, not pharmacists carrying out their professional duty of caring for patients. Ms Marra should now apologise to Scotland’s pharmacists.”
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society supports the work of the review of the Road to Recovery strategy and pharmacists will be taking part in the panel’s work. We look forward to working in partnership with other health professions and health agencies on tackling the menace of drugs in Scotland.