RPS presses DHSC for medicines law change

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, alongside GP and community pharmacy leaders, met with Government officials yesterday to discuss proposals to speed up patient access to medicines.

RPS is calling for pharmacists to be able to make minor changes to a prescription when a medicine is out of stock, so an alternative can be dispensed without the patient having to go back to their prescriber first.

This means medicines legislation needs to be changed to allow pharmacists to provide a different quantity, strength, formulation or generic version of the same medicine on a prescription, if it is in short supply. These kinds of substitutions are already commonplace for pharmacists working in hospitals and general practice. The proposal does not involve changes to treatment for patients.

RPS President Sandra Gidley said:

“Every day we see the impact of medicines shortages, which are taking up more and more time for pharmacists. COVID-19 has shown the importance of pharmacists being empowered and supported to do the right thing for patients.

“Pharmacists are experts in medicines and the law needs to change so they can more easily help patients get the medicines they need. This would improve patient experience, use pharmacists’ expertise, and save time for GPs.

“I now hope the Government can respond to patients, GPs and pharmacists and help take these proposals forwards.”

The meeting follows a joint letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP, signed by RPS, along with the British Medical Association, Royal College of GPs, National Voices, Community Pharmacy Scotland, Community Pharmacy Wales, and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.


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