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'Disappointing' progress made to decriminalise dispensing errors

The board remains committed to decriminalising dispensing errors, says chair Ken Jarrold

The board set up to "rebalance" medicine law has vowed to continue to push forward decriminalisation of dispensing errors

The programme board set up to "rebalance" medicines law has vowed to continue to push for the decriminalisation of dispensing errors despite "disappointing" progress, chair Ken Jarrold has said.

The board had still not launched a public consultation on the changes to the law - running 10 months behind schedule - but Mr Jarrold said it remained "fully determined to progress this important work and see it through".

Parliamentary lawyers had already approved draft legislation on both decriminalisation and the General Pharmaceutical Council's premises standards, while approval of changes to supervision rules was "expected shortly", the board said in an update published last month.

Although a consultation on the changes had originally been scheduled for January, the board said "good progress" had now been made to gain the "remaining necessary government clearances" for this to happen.

Mr Jarrold also said he was pleased that pharmacy minister Earl Howe had reiterated his commitment to the "rebalancing" programme in a speech at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society conference in September. 

Last year, Mr Jarrold told C+D the board had made dispensing errors a fast-track issue and hoped to pass legislation to decriminalise them by the end of 2014. But there was still "a huge amount of detailed work" to do before a consultation on the draft changes to the law was made available, he said at the time.

Under section 64 of the Medicines Act, it is a criminal offence for a pharmacist or technician to dispense the wrong product, even in error.

What do you think of the delays in decriminalising dispensing errors?

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"commitment", "good progress", "fully determined", "rebalancing"...... how many years has this been going on for now? Rhetoric and action remain inversely proportional. As we're now within a year of a general election, this isn't likely to be high on the Govt. agenda (again)

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