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Court to hold serious shortage protocols hearing

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Court to hold serious shortage protocols hearing

The Court of Appeal will hold an expedited oral hearing to decide if the Good Law Project should be granted a judicial review of the government’s serious shortage protocols (SSPs).

The hearing will determine whether to overturn Mr Justice Supperstone’s ruling on March 29 that regulation 9 of the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2019, giving pharmacists special dispensing powers to counter medicines shortages, was “lawfully made.”

Under SSPs, which came into force on February 9, pharmacists can dispense a therapeutic equivalent or generic equivalent of a medicine without talking to the patient’s GP in the event of a shortage and dispense a reduced quantity of a medicine or an alternative dosage form.

The Good Law Project believes SSPs were pushed through without a proper consultation with patient and clinical groups and launched judicial review proceedings on February 26 against the legality of the measures.

Lord Justice Hickinbottom, who will preside over the latest hearing, the date of which has not been disclosed, said Mr Justice Supperstone’s judgment “appears to me to be quite compelling” but agreed to expedite the hearing because as a no-deal Brexit remains a possibility, SSPs are more likely to be issued.

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