The proposed public health bill in Wales, which would have required health boards to consider the pharmaceutical needs of the local population, has been rejected.
The Public Health (Wales) Bill, which has been going through the statutory process since June 2015 and was due to be approved on 16 March 2016, was rejected by members of the Welsh Assembly by just one vote.
The vote took place on the last day before the Assembly was due to be dissolved ahead of the new Assembly elections on 5 May 2016.
The new members of the Assembly will now decide whether the bill, or similar legislation, is brought back for members to consider.
In a statement issued after the vote, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Welsh Pharmacy Board said: “We are concerned that this action has not prioritised the health needs of the people of Wales.”
The board wants political parties in Wales “to give serious consideration to aspects of this important bill” following the Welsh elections. In particular, it wants “to drive forward the introduction of a pharmaceutical needs assessment as part of the wider health agenda”.
The board also wants the next Welsh government to address the public health issues associated with the use of e-cigarettes, which the bill sought to address, especially around allowing them to be smoked in public places and the potential they have for recruiting young smokers.