Today the Government passed amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/3998). The amended legislation, is only activated in a pandemic situation by an announcement from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
The amendments relate from the normal restrictions on supply of controlled drugs. The first allows pharmacists to provide controlled drugs to patients who have previously been prescribed them, without the need for a new prescription. The second amendment allows pharmacists to vary in the interval between each time the medicine can be supplied, after consultation with the prescribing service, to maintain treatment and reduce harm.
The legislation amendment enables patients to continue to receive access to the medicines they need directly from a pharmacist, at registered pharmacy premises, under exceptional circumstances. These include the closure of GP practices or other services in an area because of COVID-19, and where the patient’s health is at risk.
An announcement to enact the legislation would only permit this utilisation for up to three months and would be withdrawn and usual practice applied once the pandemic situation is resolved.
Please note: These new, temporary measures will only be enacted in limited circumstances in a particular area following an announcement by the Secretary of State and only due to severe disruption to the supply of repeat prescriptions of controlled drugs.
Further updates are available on the GPhC website