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EU medicine scanning law 'not compatible' with hub-and-spoke

An EU directive requiring all pharmacies to install new barcode scanners by 2019 is “not compatible” with hub-and-spoke dispensing, an expert has warned.

The falsified medicines directive (FMD), which has been created to prevent counterfeit medicines from entering the European supply chain, will require every pharmacy in the UK to scan barcodes, check tamper-proof devices and decommission medicines to prevent them from being reused, from February 2019.

But Gareth Jones, National Pharmacy Association representative on the SecureMed Group – which is tasked with implementing the European directive – told C+D it would “completely undermine and reverse…any theoretical efficiencies” made by hub-and-spoke dispensing.

This model – where dispensing is conducted for a number of 'spoke' pharmacies from a central 'hub' – is becoming increasingly common in the UK, with Well exclusively revealing to C+D in April that the chain is adopting this system this year.

However, under the directive, the pharmacy handing the medicine over to the patient will still "have to open the bag, get [the medicines] boxes out, scan them and check the seal", pointed out Mr Jones.

“It’s not compatible with hub-and-spoke. You have to authenticate at the point of supply,” he added.

Read more about the other effects of the EU directive – as well whether Brexit could derail implementation completely – in C+D’s full interview with Mr Jones here.

What do you think about the falsified medicines directive?

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