The delay of European anti-counterfeiting measures is "good news" for UK pharmacists, representatives and wholesalers have said.
Legislation requiring pharmacists to verify medicines' authenticity by scanning at the point of dispensing was due to be published this year. However, documents released by the European Commission indicate that this is now expected at the end of 2015.
Because EU member states are required to comply with this legislation within three years after it is published, this pushes the implementation deadline back from 2017 to late 2018.
This delay would allow pharmacists to ensure their systems were "aligned with the requirements" of the legislation, said Martin Sawer, executive director of the British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW), on Friday (November 24).
"It gives them more time to ensure that the pharmacy IT systems and the pharmacies can cope," he told C+D.
NPA public affairs manager Gareth Jones said the delay in publishing the legislation was likely due to the "intricacies" of producing "one detailed delegated act" to cover the systems of all 28 member states.
"The longer we have to work [out] the best way to make it work in pharmacy, the better, really," he added.
Last year, the NPA told C+D it hoped the seizure of counterfeit generic medicines across Europe would lead to all prescription medicines being scanned at the point of dispensing, rather than just drugs deemed high-risk.
A consultation on which drugs will be included closed in September.