Pharmacy Dispensing Errors: UK Parliament Considers Decriminalisation Legislation

Author: Lyn McCarthy and James Roddy

November 30, 2017

Draft legislation has been published in the UK this month, proposing to make provision for a legal defence in the context of dispensing errors.

The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors — Registered Pharmacies) Order 2018 if enacted, will amend the Medicines Act 1968 (“the 1968 Act”) to provide new legal defences to preparation and dispensing errors for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and staff supervised by them who are working a community pharmacy setting.

Interestingly, it is proposed that the defence will apply only in respect of prescription only medications and will not apply to dispensing errors which arise in respect of over the counter medications. In addition, the defences will not apply in respect of errors which are alleged to have occurred in hospital pharmacies.

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