Department of Health sets out its proposals for ‘hub-and-spoke’ dispensing

Neon pharmacy sign

The Department of Health (DH) is seeking views on proposals to allow independent pharmacies to make use of ‘hub-and-spoke’ dispensing.

Such models involve use of a ‘hub’ pharmacy to dispense medicines on a large scale, with ‘spoke’ pharmacies – which currently have to be part of the same pharmacy business – used to supply the medicines to patients. 

The DH wants to amend the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 and Section 10 of the Medicines Act 1968 to make it possible for independent ‘spoke’ pharmacies to make use of ‘hub’ pharmacy services that are part of a separate business. Under the proposals, the ‘hub’ and the ‘spoke’ operations would both continue to be registered pharmacies.

The DH acknowledges that different models of ‘hub-and-spoke’ dispensing may develop but says that patients should have access to a pharmacist under any model.

As part of the consultation, the DH is seeking evidence as to whether the ‘hub-and-spoke’ concept is more efficient, cost saving and/or safer than traditional dispensing models. It says it will work with regulators to develop the regulatory framework needed for ‘hub-and-spoke’ dispensing and acknowledges that issues such as responsibility, accountability and liability will need to be addressed.

The consultation also covers government proposals to permit dispensing labels to include the indicative cost of a medicine; and to clarify dispensing label requirements, including those that relate to monitored dosage systems and products supplied under patient group directions.

The consultation[1]
, launched jointly with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, will run for eight weeks until 17 May 2016.


[1] Innovation Growth and Technology Directorate/Medicines, Pharmacy and Industry Division, Pharmacy Team. Amendments to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012: ‘Hub and spoke’ dispensing, prices of medicines on dispensing labels, labelling requirements and pharmacy exemption. Department of Health. IGT -MPI-P/17060. March 2016.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, April 2016, Vol 296, No 7888;296(7888):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20200928

You may also be interested in