Interim statement of the supply of OTC meds

This interim statement of professional standard has been created in response to requests for professional guidance to support the supply of OTC medicines. It has taken into account relevant pre-existing professional guidance, standards and RPS policy. This guidance provides additional context to, and should be used together with the GPhC regulatory standards for registered pharmacies.

Pharmacy owners, pharmacists and the pharmacy team are expected to work to these professional standards. Ultimately, these standards will help patients experience a consistent quality of service that will protect them from incidents of avoidable harm and help them to get the best-outcomes from their medicines.

Patient experience and patient-centred care

  1. Patients are supported in their decision-making about medicines
  2. Patients are treated with dignity and respect by pharmacy staff
  3. The pharmacy team respect privacy and confidentiality and are empathic to patient sensitivities
  4. The views of patients and carers are actively sought in the development and delivery of pharmacy services
  5. Patients have access to high quality information and support in order to make informed choices about the use of medicines in a manner they can easily understand
  6. Pharmacists support the provision of clear, understandable information about medicines throughout the organisation
  7. Patients can ask to discuss their medicines with a pharmacist.

Safe and effective use of medicines and medicines expertise

  1. Medicines recommended are chosen to maximise safety, effectiveness and adherence to treatment
  2. The pharmacy team provides expertise and advice to support the safe and effective use of medicines by patients
  3. The pharmacy team are aware when referral to the pharmacist or other healthcare professional is necessary
  4. Pharmacists are readily accessible to provide advice for other pharmacy staff and patients
  5. Pharmacists support optimisation of treatment with their expertise in medicines
  6. Pharmacy medicines must not be accessible to the public by self-selection.


  1. The pharmacy team have the right skill mix and the capability and capacity to develop and provide quality services to patients
  2. Induction and ongoing learning and development are provided for all members of the pharmacy team
  3. The pharmacy workforce is planned and appropriately resourced in order to support service quality, productivity and safety.

Frequently asked questions

Why has RPS produced this interim statement?

Members have asked for professional guidance to support the supply of OTC medicines following the transfer of regulatory powers from the RPSGB to GPhC in 2010. This interim statement provides additional context to GPhC regulatory standards for registered pharmacies in the supply of OTC medicines.

How has this interim statement been created?

The RPS published Hospital standards in July 2012 following a robust developmental process. This interim statement used those standards which were relevant to the supply of OTC medicines and were combined with previous RPSGB professional standards and guidance on sale and supply of medicines that were aligned to current RPS policy.

Why is this statement interim?

This statement is interim because we intend to work with stakeholders on the supply of medicines in the future and that work will supersede this interim statement.

Where to go for further information

RPS resources

  • RPS response to MHRA consultation on consolidation and review of UK medicines legislation (includes RPS policy on supply of OTC medicines)
  • GPhC must answer questions about move to 'self selection' of Pharmacy only medicines - RPS News, Thursday 13 September, 2012 

external resources