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Pharmacy services

Risks of online pharmacies prompts review by UK regulator

The General Pharmaceutical Council wants feedback on draft guidance for the regulation of online pharmacy sales as it aims to strike the right balance between supporting innovation and keeping patients safe.

“Internet pharmacies, click and collect, mail order services, hub and spoke, and other models of pharmacy delivery are becoming increasingly common,” say the GPhC. ”These innovations can both support increased access to medicines and additional benefits to the health and wellbeing of patients if managed and run well, but can also bring different or additional risks.”

The guidance is set out under each of the five principles outlined in the standards for registered pharmacies — governance arrangements, staff capability, suitability of premises, service delivery, and equipment and facilities.

One of the most significant considerations is the need for pharmacies to undertake a thorough risk assessment before deciding whether to pursue business online. The risks are “very different and potentially much greater if proper controls are not in place”, the guidance says. It also outlines the importance of ensuring clear lines of responsibility and accountability exist for staff working for internet pharmacies.



Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20066541

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