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Medicines legislation

Changes to pharmacy supervision laws ‘will not be easy’, says chair of rebalancing board

Plans to change the law around pharmacy supervision “will not be easy”, especially in England, the chair of the government-appointed board set up to push through the reforms has warned.

In a statement released on 24 February 2017, Ken Jarrold, chair of the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board, said: “I accept that progress on the issue of supervision will not be easy in the difficult atmosphere we are facing, particularly in England.

Ken Jarrold, chair of the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board

Source: Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board

Ken Jarrold says work must continue in preparation for changes to pharmacy supervision law, because pharmaceutical clinical skills are increasingly in demand

“However, even here we can continue with valuable preparatory work, because it is clear across the UK that pharmaceutical clinical skills will be increasingly in demand wherever patients need care.”

Work to reform medicines legislation, including around the supervision of the sale and supply of medicines through pharmacies, has been dogged by delays; the terms of reference for the rebalancing board’s supervision working group were published on 7 January 2016.

The group was set up to make recommendations to the board about the future of supervision and is tasked with ensuring that patients, the public and other healthcare professionals have access to “clinical pharmacists”, while ensuring that the sale and supply of medicines from registered pharmacies remains safe and becomes more efficient.

“This includes the deployment of modern technologies and more effective use of the whole pharmacy team, including registered pharmacy technicians,” the terms state.

Ash Soni, former president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and a member of the rebalancing board’s supervision working group, says: “Supervision is a very complex issue and without clarification about the governance arrangements around pharmacy owners, superintendent pharmacists and responsible pharmacists, it’s going to be difficult to see how supervision can be changed.” 

“This whole issue is particularly important given the concerns that pharmacists have about the changes around funding being applied to the community pharmacy contract [in England].”

Under current medicines legislation, activities in the pharmacy that have to be supervised by a pharmacist are the provision of prescription only medicines and pharmacy medicines and the labelling and boxing of medicines.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202401

Readers' comments (2)

  • There are many scenarios where a pharmacy could operate without a Pharmacist being physically present in the pharmacy, especially with modern technology allowing instant communication. But are we really saying that this is safe for all of the industry, all of the time? Multiplied out over the course of a day, in the thousands of pharmacies throughout Britain, something will go wrong, and there won't be anyone who will be able to take adequate responsibility for any failure.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • At the end of the day, supervision means care to the community AND to the staff working for that pharmacist.
    The one person who takes full blame for any dispensing error, wrongful information being given out by counter staff etc Is the Pharmacist, that's why he's there signs for everything and gives out professional information to public.
    They have been trained to do this and by doing that final check/signing, giving out info the blame lays on their shoulders for any misdemeanors.
    There are a few things a chemist shop can do without a pharmacist but too many private companies, privately owned establishments bend the rules to suit themselves. These are the people who need supervision and guidance.

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  • Ken Jarrold, chair of the Rebalancing Medicines Legislation and Pharmacy Regulation Programme Board

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