Chemist + Druggist is part of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC’s registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use. Please do not redistribute without permission.

Printed By


PSNI must refund £340k of overcharged fees, say pharmacists

The Northern Ireland regulator says it would not be “appropriate or equitable” to pay the money back

Pharmacists in Northern Ireland have demanded their regulator compensate the profession for £340,000 of overcharged fees.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI) wrote to all registrants on September 17 to say it may have overcharged 11 “specific groups” of pharmacists over the past 20 years. These include initial registration fees for pharmacists who qualified between 1995 and 2014, as well as fees for registration exams taken from 1997 onwards, it said.

But it did not consider it “appropriate or equitable” to refund the estimated £340,000, because the money had been used only to “legitimately pursue” PSNI goals. Paying back affected pharmacists would “adversely financially impact” on current and future registrants, it said. "The council does not regard this to be fair to the wider registrant population," the letter said.

PSNI told C+D it is "hard to estimate" how many registrants had been overcharged.

Pharmacists who spoke to C+D demanded that the regulator make amends to anyone affected. Eleanor Hutchinson, superintendent of O’Brien’s Pharmacy in County Londonderry, told C+D that it is “unfair” that certain groups have been accidentally "penalised". She called for the negotiator to be “monitored” to ensure it did not overcharge fees in future.

Jonathon Clarke, owner of Northern Ireland locum agency Locate a Locum Now, said his initial reaction to PSNI's letter was “pure disappointment”. Overcharged pharmacists are “entitled to a refund”, he stressed.

A pharmacy manager, who wished to remain anonymous, said he felt “deceived” by PSNI. The organisation had no basis for refusing to pay back overcharged fees, the manager added.

"Clearly unacceptable"

In its letter to registrants, PSNI said its 2014-15 review of fees had revealed some charges to registrants had not been consistent with government regulations. It admitted the situation is “clearly unacceptable”, but after “serious consideration” – which included seeking legal advice – it had decided not to pay back any overcharged fees, it said.

PSNI said it had taken "immediate and robust" action to make amends. It will “imminently” publish a consultation that will set out the “statutory basis” for future fees, it said in the letter. It had also assigned staff to deal with written queries from anyone who believes they have been affected, it added.

Pharmacists can send queries to Fees Queries, 73 University Street, Belfast, BT7 1HL, or via email to [email protected]


Do you think PSNI should pay the money back?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Related Content


Pharmacist Managers - Recruiting Now !
East London, Essex and Luton
£40,000 - £50,000 per year

Apply Now



Ask The Analyst

Please Note: You can also Click below Link for Ask the Analyst
Ask The Analyst

Thank you for submitting your question. We will respond to you within 2 business days. my@email.address.

All fields are required.

Please make sure all fields are completed.

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please make sure you have filled out all fields

Please enter a valid e-mail address

Please enter a valid Phone Number

Ask your question to our analysts