The two-year delay to EU anticounterfeiting measures shows that policy-makers are “keen to make it work”, wholesalers have said.
The legislation – which will require pharmacists across Europe to electronically scan medicine barcodes at the point of dispensing – was orginally scheduled to be implemented in 2017 but will not come into force until 2019, British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) executive director Martin Sawer told C+D.
The publication of a final delegated act has been pushed back from 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, Mr Sawer said last week (September 3). It was originally due to be published in 2014. Once it is published, the UK will have three years to choose an IT system for barcode scanning and install it in every UK pharmacy.
Mr Sawer reaffirmed his belief that the delays are positive for pharmacy because they show that policy-makers are "absorbing a lot of feedback from member states".
The UK is “on track” to deliver the necessary changes, although there will be “a lot of hurdles between now and 2019”, Mr Sawer stressed. Groups affected by the legislation – including pharmacy bodies, wholesalers and manufacturers – have met with the government to discuss its consequences, he said.
The implementation of the legislation will be unusal because it is these stakeholders – rather than the government – that are "paying for it and therefore running it", he said.
Mr Sawer warned that the “devil will be in the detail” when it comes to introducing the scanning law in each EU state. The main challenge for the UK will be ensuring the system works across both primary and secondary care, he added.