UK: Pharmacy Brief - June 2013

Last Updated: 11 June 2013
Article by David Reissner

Manchester Pharmacy Conference

Our Manchester Pharmacy conference at the Royal Exchange Theatre on 2 July 2013 is now oversubscribed. For a place on the reserve list, email

Healthcare Regulation

The Law Commission has published a review of the Regulation of Health Care Professionals. It proposes bringing the regulation of all healthcare and social care professionals into line with each other. Here are the headlines – for more details, click here (only if you have received the Pharmacy Brief by email).

  • There could be a paramount duty to protect, promote and maintain the health, safety and well-being of the public by ensuring proper standards for safe and effective practice.
  • There could be compulsory registration for students
  • A review of protected titles - is it time to give "pharmacist" and "pharmacy" greater protection than "chemist", rather than the other way round?
  • The test of impairment of fitness to practise may be changed.
  • The GPhC's Investigating Committee could have power to dispose of cases by accepting voluntary removal from the Register
  • The GPhC would have to review decisions of the Investigating Committee not to refer a case to a Fitness to Practise Committee
  • Possible financial penalties

Keep taking the PILs

The MHRA says the law relating to Patient Information Leaflets fails to support the safe and effective use of medicines. The MHRA wants the law to require:

  • the most important information to be at the beginning of the document
  • leaflets to direct patients to other sources of information about their condition and treatment
  • the current use of templates to be abandoned because they stifle innovation and do not reflect what patients regard as important
  • information to be targeted so that irrelevant information, such as interactions with pregnancy, is not a distraction
  • information to be available electronically, not just in leaflet form.

Exam Results

Many pharmacy students will soon be receiving their exam results. Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary to challenge decisions made by higher education institutions, for example by appealing. Students need to act quickly if they want to challenge a decision, because time limits usually apply. Any problems during the exam itself should be notified to the invigilator before leaving the examination room. For further information about how we are able to assist, contact Rachel Warren at

GPs' Interests in Pharmacies

The GMC has just introduced new guidance on doctors' conflicts of interest. Contact us for further information or see David Reissner's article in the Health Service Journal.

Remedial Notices

After our client asked the PCT about closing on Saturdays, the PCT sent him a remedial notice - before Saturday had even come round, saying it would withhold remuneration.

A remedial notice cannot be issued before a breach of the terms of service has been committed - and there is a duty to communicate and co-operate with the pharmacy owner before a remedial notice is served.

After we lodged an appeal, the PCT withdrew the remedial notice. Hopefully NHS England will exercise more sensibly the powers it has inherited from PCTs.

Pharmacy and Medicines Law

The new edition of Dale & Appelbe's Pharmacy and Medicines Law has just been published. It is available at Ł44.99 from Pharmacy Press. David Reissner has contributed to the chapter on Fitness to Practise, and co-authored the chapter on Professional Conduct.

London Conference

Our London Pharmacy conference in April was well attended. We only have room for a few key points:

  • Noel Wardle pointed out:
  • The GPhC has publicised interim suspensions of pharmacists even though their cases were heard in private because they are presumed innocent until proved guilty
  • The GPhC is still not enforcing premises pending the grant of further powers
  • Tim Jenkins and Rachel Warren described how sales could go wrong and emphasized:
  • The need for a properly drawn up management agreement between buyers and sellers
  • The importance of structuring a transaction so that the seller is able to ensure the purchase price is paid on time
  • Helen Hutton and Claire Timmings warned that:
  • Failure to resolve planning issues early can seriously affect the timing of a pharmacy transaction
  • Failure to obtain planning consent can result in the GPhC refusing to register a pharmacy, or in a pharmacy having to close
  • David Reissner pointed out:
  • The new market entry regulations may be incompatible with European law
  • New rules may not stop the direction of prescriptions by GPs
  • Susan Hunneyball expects the MHRA to decriminalise dispensing errors

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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