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Supplying unlicensed medicines for children — experiences from an LPF

By Mandeep Bhoday and Sharon Conroy

ABSTRACT

 

Aim

To explore the experiences of pharmacists in supplying unlicensed medicines for children

Design

Online questionnaire survey

Subjects and setting

Members of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Local Practice Forum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Results

The questionnaire was electronically delivered to 1,551 members and 40 replies were received (response rate 2.6%). 34 respondents (85%) were aware of children prescribed an unlicensed medicine and 22 of these were aware of families who had experienced problems obtaining a further supply. Melatonin, omeprazole and spironolactone were the top three problem medicines highlighted. The most common problems were GPs unfamiliar with the medicine, not being willing or able to prescribe and prescribing errors; parents not informing their GP in time to generate a prescription or their community pharmacist in time to obtain further supplies before they ran out; the price of unlicensed medicines and short shelf lives. Communication between sectors and education of parents were highlighted as key to minimising problems and disruptions to treatment for patients transferring between different care settings.

Conclusions

Unlicensed medicines continue to cause problems for families, pharmacists and doctors in hospital and community. Pharmacists in all sectors have an important role in ensuring that these medicines are used only when essential, advising prescribers on alternatives where available, educating families and purchasing responsibly with due regard to timeliness of supply, quality assurance, bioequivalence and cost.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11103891

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