The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has met with government officials to press the case for pharmacists to be able to amend prescriptions during medicines shortages.
At the meeting, which was held on 2 December 2020, the RPS were joined by leaders from the GP and community pharmacy sectors.
The Society was asking for legislative change to allow for pharmacists to provide a different quantity, strength, formulation or generic version of a medicine, without having to refer back to the prescriber. This ability — which is already possible for pharmacists working in hospitals and general practice — would speed up patient access to medicines during shortages, the RPS said.
The government meeting follows a letter sent to Matt Hancock, the health secretary, on 11 September 2020, co-signed by the RPS and six other bodies, including the Royal College of GPs, urging Hancock to “work with GPs, pharmacists and patient groups to reduce bureaucracy and speed up access to appropriate treatment”.
Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS, said that the impact of medicines shortages was felt every day, and was “taking up more and more time for pharmacists”. Gidley added that pharmacists “are experts in medicines and the law needs to change so they can more easily help patients get the medicines they need. This would improve patient experience, use pharmacists’ expertise, and save time for GPs.
“I now hope the government can respond to patients, GPs and pharmacists, and help take these proposals forwards.”