P meds on self-selection. GPhC decision must be challenged

In its submission to the GPhC consultation on standards for registered pharmacies, the PDA was not alone in setting out its very firm objections to the notion that P medicines should be allowed on self-selection in community pharmacies.

Mon 17th September 2012 The PDA

Consequently, the decision by the GPhC to proceed with such a proposal is met with shock and disappointment.

According to PDA Chairman Mark Koziol;

“In our consultation submission we told the GPhC that its job is about protecting the public interest, if it allowed P medicines to go on self – selection, then that would represent a dereliction of its duty as public interest guardian. We would expect the suggestion to allow P medicines to be on self-selection to come from commercially driven retailing lobby groups and not from a public health regulator which should have a better understanding of medicines and their danger to the public if they are found on open shelves alongside normal items of commerce.”

He continued;

“Every day, in many patient facing encounters across the whole of the UK, pharmacists are able to ensure that patients receive the right P medicine and also, that they do not purchase an inappropriate one. The fact that these more potent medicines are not on open selection significantly supports that process. We warned the GPhC that if they proceeded with such a dangerous idea, then it would be met with significant resistance from the wider profession and that it would harm the public interest. We are at a loss as to how they could have possibly come up with such a damaging proposal. This cannot be the end of the matter and we have written to the GPhC asking them to provide a detailed explanation of their thinking, we will then decide how to proceed.”

He continued;

“Medicines are already under very significant pressure in the UK. The GPhC sits quietly while non-pharmacy discount retailers are able to sell as many packets of paracetamol to the public as they like and even large pharmacy multiples are now offering two for the price of one medicine sale promotions. Surely, the pharmacy regulator, the GPhC, in the interests of the public should be helping pharmacists to instil some order in relation to medicines and to improve safety in this confusing and increasingly deteriorating situation. Instead, they are compounding the problem further by seeking to dismantle a well-established process that serves to keep patients safe.”

On professional and patient safety grounds, the PDA urges all community pharmacists to continue to keep their P medicines in the safe environment of the chemist counter and not out on self-selection. Pharmacists who are being pressurised by employers to move P medicines to open display should contact the PDA for support.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
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The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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