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Readers slam GPhC's failure to punish Pharmacy2U

Pharmacists have supported RPS English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley's view that the regulator has been "particularly weak" towards the online business

C+D readers have turned on the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) for its “pathetic” response to the Pharmacy2U data-selling scandal.

Readers unanimously backed Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley, who last week labelled the GPhC’s response to the sale of Pharmacy2U patient data “particularly weak”.

Pharmacy2U was fined £130,000 by the government’s privacy watchdog in October for selling patient information to marketing companies, and the GPhC told C+D yesterday (January 11) that it is "continuing to take its case forward in relation to... Pharmacy2U".

A GPhC inspection of the business in May 2015 found it had "taken steps to prevent another breach of patient information taking place", the regulator stressed.

Pharmacist Peter Badham said he “totally agreed” with Miss Gidley. “Action should have been taken at once to protect patients,” Mr Badham posted on the C+D website. “It is a clear message to all online contractors: ‘Do what you like’.”

Pharmacist Harry Tolly also questioned why the GPhC had not imposed interim sanctions against the online pharmacy business. “After all, the GPhC can do this against pharmacists under the guise of 'protecting' the public. So why not the same for this company?" he said.

Delays to Pharmacy2U deliveries

Readers also criticised the business's failure to deliver prescriptions to patients over Christmas. The GPhC announced last week that its "special inspection" of Pharmacy2U last month had found that it had failed to supply drugs to some patients "in a timely manner".

The GPhC called on Pharmacy2U to “urgently” improve its service to patients. The pharmacy must “put in place an action plan” describing how it will improve its delivery service, and the regulator will conduct a follow-up inspection to ensure this has been implemented, it said.

Pharmacist Sanjay Mistry pointed out that the GPhC's role is to protect the public and uphold trust in pharmacy. “The message the GPhC is sending out is that we are allowed to breach standards without sanctions being placed,” Mr Mistry said.

Community pharmacist Marc Borson questioned “how on earth” Pharmacy2U is allowed to continue operating and why they have been given a “third chance”.

Pharmacy2U managing director Daniel Lee told C+D today (January 12) that the company's delivery issues are “being resolved” and it has begun processing new orders. “We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience,” he added.

Are you satisfied with the GPhC's response to the scandal? 

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