Under EU anti-counterfeiting legislation the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), every pharmacy in the UK will be required to scan barcodes on medicines and check their anti-tampering device at the point of dispensing from February 9, 2019.
Weldricks superintendent Richard Wells said the chain has already purchased “quality scanners” for its 63 pharmacies, in anticipation of “stock shortages due to a sudden, one-off demand from thousands of pharmacies” ahead of the February deadline.
Mr Wells said the cost of Weldrick's FMD preparations is commercially confidential, but was “significant and very unwelcome” given the “tidal wave of cost increases pharmacy has faced in recent years, and [the] reductions in remuneration”.
“If the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee does not negotiate a contribution towards the cost of purchasing hardware, licensing software, and the staff time needed for all the extra scanning, then this will be a new and substantial straw added to an already heavily burdened camel’s back,” he stressed.
Trials of pharmacy scanners
The chain has chosen the system supplier FMD IT to provide the required software, and “will begin a trial in two pharmacies – one low volume and one high volume dispensing – in September”, he told C+D on Wednesday (August 22).
“We plan to have the system rolled out across our whole estate and fully operational well before the legal deadline,” Mr Wells added.
In its impact assessment published last month, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency suggested that every pharmacy faces paying up to £4,000 every five years to buy the required scanners and software.