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Lawyer: Legal challenge could put pharmacists' shortage powers at risk

The Good Law Project launched legal proceedings claiming the DH's consultation was unlawful
The Good Law Project launched legal proceedings claiming the DH's consultation was unlawful

A legal challenge could put a stop to pharmacists’ new shortages powers before they are even used, lawyer David Reissner has told C+D.

The Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2019 order – which came into force on February 9 – includes provisions to allow pharmacists to dispense an alternative in accordance with a “serious shortage protocol” announced by the government – rather than the prescription and without contacting the GP – in the event of a national medicines shortage.

Since then, not-for-profit organisation the Good Law Project has launched legal proceedings against the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) for pushing through the regulatory changes “without proper consultation with patient and clinical groups”.

David Reissner, a consultant at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, told C+D last week that if a judge considers the Good Law Project has “an arguable case”, and its subsequent hearing is successful, the regulatory changes will have to be withdrawn, while a full consultation is carried out.

“If a serious shortage occurs in the meanwhile…I’d like to know what the Good Law Project would expect the DH to do,” he added.

However, Mr Reissner stressed that he is “not convinced” by the Good Law Project’s legal argument against the shortages powers.

The Good Law Project told C+D this morning (March 13) that it is waiting for instructions from the High Court on the next step in the legal proceedings.

Read Mr Reissner’s in-depth legal verdict on the Good Law Project’s challenge

What do you make of the DH's "serious shortage protocols"?

RS Pharmacist, Primary care pharmacist

Unfortunately there is too much potential for abuse with this Law and should never have been approved.

Also Community Pharmacist dont have access to all the relevant clinical information to be able to make an informed and safe clinical decision, there is a reason a POM is a POM and not a P (or I would like to think so).

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

community pharmacist... any meds u canot get please refer patients back to primary care pharmacists.. DONT waste yout time sorting out a problem NOT of your making. Unlike most community pharmacists the primary care ones that I know of have all the time in the world and all the records they need access to

How High?, Community pharmacist

We don't actually need this power.

Just inform GPs of the list of affected products and let them buggers sort it out.

Why are we endlessly clearing up other people's mess because they are "so overworked and stressed"? 

We shouldn't even be contemplating this so let the "interested parties" find another solution, I'm too bloody busy!

Aldosterone antagonist, Locum pharmacist

100% agree with you. A list to the GPs would be a really good idea as overall its easier if the doctor switches the patient to an alternative; if the doctor really can't come up with a solution then they can always ring up the pharmacist worst case scenario to discuss prescribing options

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

 “without proper consultation with patient and clinical groups”

Why dont you refer these people to GPhC and let them see what happens to consultation ???

Caroline Jones, Community pharmacist

Maybe the patients could be referred back to their GP for proper consultation? 

C A, Community pharmacist

Good luck getting an appointment. 

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

Love it!


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