Dispensing errors legislation comes into force

Dispensing errors legislation comes into force

April 16, 2018

Legal defences will be available for inadvertent errors made by community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from today (16th April 2018).

The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Registered Pharmacies) Order 2018 makes provision for a defence to prosecution under section 63 and section 64 of the Medicines Act 1968 in cases where medicines are prepared or dispensed by a registered pharmacist, or registered pharmacy technician, or someone acting under the supervision of a registered pharmacy professional.

The conditions of the defence for the sale or supply of a medicine are that:

  • The medicine must have been dispensed at a registered pharmacy; and
  • The person who dispensed the medicine was a registered pharmacist or registered pharmacy technician acting in the course of their profession or other person acting under their supervision; and
  • The medicine was sold or supplied to fulfill a prescription or direction by a relevant prescriber or a PGD or a POM sold or supplied where there was an immediate need for it (i.e. a prescription could not have been obtained without undue delay); and
  • That one of the following is met:
    • The person who dispensed the medicine did not know that the medicine was not of the required nature or quality (i.e. had no knowledge that the medicine was inappropriate); or
    • Before the person who dispensed the medicine was charged, “an appropriate person” on becoming aware that the medicine was not of the required nature or quality promptly ensured that all reasonable steps were taken to notify the person to whom the medicine was intended or reasonably formed the view that it was not necessary or appropriate to do so and the person who dispensed the medicine did not know at the time of sale or supply of the medicine that it was not of the required nature or quality.

PSNC Director of Operations and Support, Gordon Hockey, said:

“Pharmacies have been required to record patient safety incidents in an incident log and report these to the National Reporting and Learning Service (NRLS) since 2005, but now pharmacy professionals can be reassured that when they do report these incidents, generally they don’t need to fear legal repercussion for making inadvertent errors. PSNC welcomes this legal protection which we hope will allow the profession to instead focus on ensuring that safeguards are in place to minimise errors and identify areas for improvement.”

 



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