Dispensing error decriminalisation Bill discussed in Parliament

Dispensing error decriminalisation Bill discussed in Parliament

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    Monday, 04 December 2017 15:13
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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
More inWhite Papers  

a scales of justice imageDecember 4 2017

The Bill which will give a statutory defence around dispensing errors is being debated in Parliament this week. The House of Commons was scheduled to debate the Bill in Committee on Monday afternoon, December 4, and the House of Lords will do so on Wednesday, December 6.

A briefing paper the Department of Health has drawn up for parliamentarians has been posted in the All Party Pharmacy Group website. It explains how the new legislation will provide a defence against the criminal charges set out in the Medicines Act 1968 relating to dispensing medicines erroneously.

The new legislation will only apply to medicines dispensed in community pharmacies, and the document notes: “Whilst this Order does not provide a legal defence to preparation and dispensing errors occurring outside of a registered pharmacy, prosecutors will be advised as to plans to consult on an Order in respect to this.”

Further work is needed for hospitals and other specified pharmacy settings, such as pharmacy services for prisons and care homes. The Department “plans to consult on draft proposals in the New Year.”

The Pharmacy Law and Ethics Association has said that should both Houses of Parliament approve the Bill, “one of the main hurdles to the introduction of the statutory defence will have been cleared.” The Bill then requires Privy Council approval and a date has to be set for the legislation to come into force, normally 28 days later.

In addition, PLEA points out that there is “an additional hurdle” in Northern Ireland as there is no functioning devolved government at present. Approval will be via the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Links:
APPG notice        
APPG link to ‘Draft Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Registered Pharmacies) Order 2018’ briefing paper       
PLEA statement                  

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