The Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) is "at a loss" to understand the logic of the General Pharmaceutical Council's (GPhC) plan to launch a "programme of work" on workplace pressures.
The regulator announced on Wednesday (June 15) that it will address the issues raised in a PDA survey – that revealed concerns about target pressures at the multiples – at a stakeholder event in October.
Results from the union's survey made international headlines after the Guardian used them as part of its coverage alleging that Boots encourages its pharmacists to conduct unnecessary medicines use reviews (MURs) for profit.
The PDA is "very disappointed" by the GPhC's reaction to its survey findings, it said today (June 17).
The regulator's planned stakeholder event on the topic – which the PDA will attend – is positive because "at least some form of action is better than none", it said. But the GPhC appears to be "reluctant to take firm action against the corporates", it stressed.
Media reports of pharmacists' workplace pressures following the Guardian coverage resulted in the "good name" of the profession being "tarnished in the eyes of the public", the PDA said.
Hundreds of pharmacists who responded to the safety survey complained of "alarming" working conditions and "expected more" from the regulator, the PDA added.
Too little, too late
PDA chairman Mark Koziol said the GPhC's plans for a stakeholder event are "far too little and far too late". The PDA "sincerely hopes" that the regulator allows "grass roots" pharmacists to attend the event so they can share their concerns, he said.
"Surely the role of the regulator must be to protect the interests of patients and to underpin the professionalism of pharmacists, not to appear to behave like an apologist for large business interests," he stressed.
C+D podcast on pressures