The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has claimed one of its member pharmacies is the first in the UK to become fully compliant with the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD).

Market Pharmacy, based in Bolton and part of the Hollowood Chemists Group which has 17 pharmacies and is owned by NPA board member Raj Patel, is said to be the first in the country to have a product decommissioned and re-commissioned.

Pharmacists will be required to scan the barcodes of all medicines at the point of dispensing and check the anti-tampering device under FMD from February 9 next year.

“There’s no need to wait until the FMD compliance deadline in February. My pharmacies wanted to make a start now, to uncover any implementation problems and resolve them ahead of time. I’m pleased to say that everything went smoothly,” Patel said.

Earlier this year the UK FMD Working Group for Community Pharmacy, which is chaired by Patel, said pharmacists guilty of “isolated non-compliance” of the Directive such as failing to scan a product should not face any sanctions as it would “not undermine the integrity of the system.”

The Group also said non-compliance should carry civil rather than criminal sanctions outside of intentional fraud and other exceptional circumstances.

Gareth Jones, head of corporate affairs at the NPA, warned pharmacists not to get into long-term contracts with IT suppliers given the continued uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union.

“The NPA is working hard to provide as much information on FMD as possible to help members get prepared,” he said.

“With the clock ticking, we are advising members to start planning now and not to delay preparations. While Brexit creates uncertainty it won’t stop FMD becoming an obligation from 9 February.

“We do however advise you to avoid getting tied into long term contracts with IT suppliers, given the uncertainty about what may happen after 29 March.”

The NPA also cautioned its members “to check the contract length and exit terms” because “given the range of Brexit scenarios, contracts should have exit clauses.”

It said: “More benefits are likely to be delivered through a system integrated within a PMR ultimately but in the short-term, keeping the FMD process separate may be an attractive option for many pharmacies.”

 

(Pictured: Raj Patel in Market Pharmacy in Bolton. © Chris Bull/UNP)

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