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

UsernamePublicRestriction

Long-awaited dispensing error defence finally laid before parliament

A legal defence from criminal sanctions for pharmacists and staff who make an inadvertent dispensing error has been been laid before parliament today (November 14).

The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Registered Pharmacies) Order 2018 includes new defences relating to preparation and dispensing of medicines by registered pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and “persons supervised by them”, at “retail pharmacy premises”.

According to the order, the specific amendments to the Medicines Act 1968 relating to dispensing errors will “come into force on such days as the Privy Council may by order appoint”.

C+D has asked the Department of Health for clarification on this time frame.

The latest news about the error defence comes almost a year after Northern Irish pharmacist Martin White was handed a four-month suspended prison sentence for a dispensing error.

Since then, C+D clinical editor Kristoffer Stewart and blogger Xrayser have both called for inadvertent errors to be decriminalised, while C+D editor James Waldron wrote to the head of the pharmacy regulation “rebalancing” board to ask why the amendments to the law have been continually delayed.

The DH have since told C+D that it expects a debate to be scheduled between now and Christmas, and subject to parliamentary approval, the order will come into force early next year.

How does the government plan to change the law on dispensing errors?

A pharmacy professional or unregistered member of staff should have a defence against a criminal sanction for an inadvertent dispensing error if they meet a set of conditions. These include showing they had acted "in the course of [their] profession", that they had sold or supplied a medicine on the back of a prescription or patient group directive, and had “promptly” informed the patient about the error once discovered.

Criminal sanctions should only apply if there is proof "beyond reasonable doubt" that the pharmacist either misused their professional skills "for an improper purpose", or showed "a deliberate disregard for patient safety". The Department of Health stressed in 2015 that under this change to the law, failing to follow the pharmacy's procedures would not constitute grounds for criminal proceedings on its own.

 

The Twitter reaction

How will the new legal defence affect you?

Related Content

Topics



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

Apply Now
UsernamePublicRestriction

Register

CD009046

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

Cancel