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Medicines shortages

Jersey government could temporarily close pharmacies in no-deal Brexit scenario

Pharmacies on Jersey could be temporarily closed if a no-deal Brexit leads to severe medicines shortages, under an amendment to emergency powers passed on 10 September 2019.

An emergency powers and planning law has been in place on the island since 1990, but the prospect of a no-deal Brexit led the government to amend it to protect access to medicines and medicines supplies.

The amendment creates a “competent authority” for medicines and medical supplies: a named individual responsible for safeguarding access in emergency scenarios.

Their powers include the ability to restrict pharmacy opening hours, or even close pharmacies, in the event of severe medicines shortages; requisitioning “at-risk” medicines from local pharmacies to a central distribution point; and requiring pharmacists to report stock levels to the chief pharmacist.

The competent authority could also allow pharmacists to switch prescription medicines, “in accordance with a list approved by the chief pharmacist”.

This comes after the UK government implemented legislation on 9 February 2019, which would enable pharmacists to switch a patient’s medication according to a serious shortage protocol, if the medicine they were originally prescribed is in short supply.

The amendment, proposed by John Le Fondré, Jersey’s chief minister, was unanimously passed.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207051

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