Pharmacy law

14 Feb, 2011

Pharmacy law “doesn’t match” the technological developments in pharmacy, leaving “grey areas” for pharmacists, healthcare law firm Charles Russell has warned.

Charles Russell associate Noel Wardle criticised current legislation for not adapting to innovations such as remote dispensing machines, collection points and pharmacy websites.  “The legislation just doesn’t match what people would like to do with their pharmacies,” he explained.

Mr Wardle said this left “grey areas” in pharmacy law. He referred to the current laws on supervision, which do not take into account possible modern methods of supervising through remote devices.

“The legal definition of supervision is ‘in a position to intervene’ but this has a very different meaning in 2011 than it did when the law was created,” he said. Mr Wardle said this created confusion over the legal position of devices such as remote dispensing machines, where pharmacists communicate with patients by telephone.

He added that he felt these machines contradicted pharmacies’ NHS Terms of service, which say that services must only be provided on registered pharmacy premises.

Remote collection points were also cited as a source of confusion, because of discrepancies between the relevant legislation and guidance. Although it is legal for collection points to operate outside pharmacy premises, Royal Pharmaceutical Society guidance stipulates that remote collection points should only operate in remote areas after consultation locally.

Mr Wardle warned the wider introduction of remote machinery would have considerable legal implications for the sector.

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