Defence for hospital pharmacists who make an inadvertent dispensing error comes closer


Proposals to introduce a defence for hospital pharmacists if they inadvertently make a dispensing error are being referred to ministers for approval.

The terms of the proposals were supported by the government advisory board set up to “rebalance” medicines legislation and pharmacy regulation, with just minor changes. If approved by ministers, the recommendations will be put out to public consultation in 2015, according to a statement released by the board following its meeting on 28 July 2015.

Chair of the programme board Ken Jarrold said in the statement that he was pleased with progress made in addressing inadvertent dispensing errors made by hospital pharmacists.

Proposals to introduce a defence for community pharmacists who make an inadvertent dispensing error were consulted on in February 2015. In considering responses to that consultation, the board decided that the defence should apply “generally” where the sale or supply of the medicine followed a prescription or directions from an appropriate prescriber.

The board had previously agreed that the defence should not apply to pharmacists in cases where they were also the prescriber, according to the minutes of the June 2015 board meeting, published on 11 August 2015.

The Department of Health has agreed that it will look again at whether the defence should apply in cases involving pharmacists and the emergency supply of medicines, those involving pharmacists providing a minor ailments service and in cases that involve a pharmacist prescriber, the minutes confirm. 

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 22/29 August 2015, Vol 295, No 7876/7;295(7876/7):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069151

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