UK: Pharmacy Brief - September 2012

Last Updated: 24 August 2012
Article by David Reissner

Pharmacy Show –30 September and 1 October 2012

Visit David Reissner and the rest of the Pharmacy Team at our stand at the Pharmacy Show on 30 September and 1 October 2012, at the NEC. You can find us at Stand E50. If you would like a fixed time to see a member of the team at the Show, please email with your expected time of arrival and an idea of the topic you want to discuss.

Market Entry 2012

New Regulations are due to come into force on 1 September. Applications for new contracts will be much more complex, but solicitors will now have the right to represent clients at PCT hearings. We encourage clients to involve us in preparing applications and any written representations because rights, including the right of appeal can be lost if essential content is not included.

Pharmacy Law - The Nelson Touch

Pharmacy Law - it's just like the buses. You wait decades for a new piece of legislation, and two come along at once. On the day after the Department of Health laid new market entry and market exit regulations before Parliament, it laid before Parliament the Human Medicines Regulations 2012. These bring together the Medicines Act 1968 and all the changes made to it in the last 44 years. The Regulations came into force on 14 August and, as well as consolidating the previous law, remove the exemption for pharmacists from the need for a Wholesale Dealer's Licence when they supply by wholesale. However, the MHRA says it will turn a blind eye to breaches of the law (required to comply with European law) in the case of non-commercial transactions.


The new Human Medicines Regulations do not deal with decriminalisation, but the MHRA have undertaken to look at this issue in a forthcoming review of sanctions. Let's hope we don't have to wait another 44 years!

Reward Schemes

We are often asked to advise on a range of reward schemes and whether these infringe various prohibitions. A case reported by the MHRA illustrates one type of activity that breaks the law. GP Supplies Limited included a promotion on their website, offering points to customers for purchasing medicines. The points could be redeemed for Marks & Spencer vouchers. The promotional offer had to be withdrawn after a complaint prompted the MHRA to act.

In another case, the MHRA (which also enforces restrictions on advertising medicines), found that a specials company had broken the law by displaying unlicensed medicines at conferences.


Homeopathy was back in the news in June, in the light of the consolidation of the Medicines Act. Homeopathy interests lobbied MPs for a change in the law because they were concerned that if the new legislation was strictly enforced, homeopathic products could only be bought from a pharmacy. The Government has decided to maintain the status quo.


Increasingly, references are required for NHS processes. The High Court recently ruled that in the absence of bad faith, a libel claim cannot be brought against a referee who gives an inaccurate reference, because there is a strong public interest in NHS employers being able to ask for and receive honest employment references.

Limited Liability Partnerships

The Department of Health seems to have got itself into a muddle over the status of LLPs. It recently issued guidance that the Medicines Act required all members of a LLP to be pharmacists. It then withdrew the guidance, saying the position is not clear and LLPs could be treated as a body corporate. In fact, the law could not be clearer. The Limited Liability Partnerships Act 200 says "a limited liability partnership is a body corporate (with legal personality separate from that of its members)".

Swap Claims

A number of financial products have been sold by banks to small and medium sized businesses to reduce exposure to interest rate fluctuations. Recently the Financial Services Authority has reported a number of cases arising out of bad practices including possible mis-selling. Customers of banks who have taken out such financial products may be entitled to redress. We are handling a number of claims. For more information, please email

It's a Deal

Our Pharmacy Transactions Team continue to see a busy period for transactions. Recently concluded purchases handled by Tim Jenkins and the Team include:-

  • Acting for Harlow Healthcare Limited on its purchase of Essex based pharmacy from the Administrators of Addison Healthcare Limited
  • Acting for Pharmaco (Norfolk) Limited on its purchase of T&C Hunt Limited and T & C Hunt (Pharmacy) Limited operating two Norwich based pharmacies (sale brokered by Hutchings Consultants)
  • Acting for Moloney Healthcare Limited on its purchase of Bradford–on– Avon based Silver Street Pharmacy (sale brokered by Hutchings Consultants)

Our understanding of pharmacy businesses enables us to offer a competitively priced, added value, full service for clients both large and small and whether buying or selling companies, pharmacy partnerships or sole trader businesses. We can also offer a one-stop service by bringing in valuation and other expertise – for further details click here OSS.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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David Reissner
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