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Wholesalers: Give pharmacists emergency powers to amend prescriptions

Pharmacists need emergency powers to substitute drugs on prescriptions in the event of a no-deal Brexit, wholesalers and the RPS have said.

Discussing the likelihood that a potential no-deal scenario would exacerbate medicines shortages, Martin Sawer, executive director of wholesaler body the Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA), told MPs yesterday (October 23) that one solution would be “allowing pharmacists to substitute prescriptions to alternate medicines they have available”.

The government should also consider relaxing the law to “allow pharmacists to share and use other pharmacies’ medicines” to cope with shortages, he told the committee.

Speaking at a Health and Social Care Committee hearing at the Houses of Parliament, Mr Sawer suggested the government “remove and stop all wholesale licences for a limited time” in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to prevent the exporting of medicines that “we would want to keep in the country”.

“I’m not pulling any punches, we have to think of emergency powers,” he added. “We need politicians to understand that there could be consequences of a no-deal.”

RPS: Sensible to allow pharmacists to change medicines

Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) president Ash Soni also said it would be “sensible” to allow pharmacists to switch medicines on prescriptions in the event of Brexit shortages, rather than “adding yet more pressure to general practices”.

“We’ve already got shortages in the market,” Mr Soni told The Times last week. “We worry that under the circumstances of a no-deal Brexit, there would be issues around a group of drugs that are more significant than they are normally.

“We need the ability to be able to deal with that rapidly.”

Do you agree pharmacists should be granted emergency powers in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

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