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

Gareth Jones NPA community pharmacy EU scanning laws
Gareth Jones: Pharmacies will have to authenticate at point of supply

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?

, Finance

I am confused as to what the article is saying. 


Does the directive demand that checks be carried out in front of the patient? 


As in the patient needs to be:


a) present


b) watching you check.





Leon The Apothecary, Student

I don't think there is a lot of interest into this either way. It's pretty much dead on arrival.

Courage Asemota, Locum pharmacist

Yup Uk Pharmacies being subjected to European Law ..puhlease...  the Euro project is failing. You cannot have people of different social economic ecosystems and countries who practice diferent forms of democracy and have differnt economic frameworks all obeying the same rules and regulations. Makes no sense

Marie-Anne Pollaud, HR & Training

The EMA thanks you for its pending relocation to the continent. 

Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Come on C+D pay attention... it's 9 February 2019, not 2017.

James Waldron, Editorial

Hi Valentine,

Thanks for flagging this incorrect date, which I have now corrected. For the record, that typo was made by myself in a final edit, and was not attributed to the original author. 


James Waldron (C+D Editor)

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Dispensing errors are still illegal.  Are editorial errors treated similarly...?!

James Waldron, Editorial

If they were, I would campaign for the decriminalisation of both. Having said that, I'm considering following the example of pharmacy and creating an office error log, to ensure I don't make the same mistake again.

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

What about Internet Pharmacies?? and pharmacy deliveries?? do the drivers have to be qualified pharmacists, so that they can open and scan ??? Load of Bu** Cr**

Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

I am a little confused, what is this article actually telling us? Is it stating that hub and spoke pharmacies will not need to adopt the procedure or are they saying the whole implementation is to be put on hold until the hub and spoke side is sorted out.

If this is being implemented due to fake medicines why is is not being implemented at the wholesaler stage of the whole medicines process, let me think- eh is it because the majority of wholesalers have got enough financial backing to tell the DH or whoever it is that has come up with this fantastic idea to take a running jump because there is no way they will be taking on all the extra work for no money.

Can you imagine opening up every single bag to scan the boxes at time of collection, who has agreed this for us all?

Am I wrong to assume that it is an EU directive and therefore it should be landed in the bin because BREXIT has been initiated, there has got to be SOMETHING positive to come out of the whole brexit scenario especially as most of us with sense would have voted to stay in.


Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Going ahead regardless of Brexit.

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