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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Identifying and addressing risks associated with a third-party delivery service

Pharmacy type

Internet / Distance Selling

Pharmacy context

This is a distance selling pharmacy and it offers its services to people through its website. People cannot visit the pharmacy in person unless for a private service, such as a vaccination. A range of prescription-only medicines are available through an online prescribing service and these are delivered to people via a courier service. 

Relevant standards

  • 4.2 - Pharmacy services are managed and delivered safely and effectively

Why this is notable practice

Risk assessments are used to identify and manage the risks associated with supplying medication using the courier service. And by doing this the pharmacy mitigates the risks identified by introducing appropriate measures.

How the pharmacy did this

The pharmacy had completed a separate risk assessment for the use of the courier service before supplying prescription-only medicines from the prescribing service. For example, the pharmacy had identified the risks of delay or loss in medication and managed this by implementing a fully audited track and trace process. This enabled the pharmacy team to conduct an end of day exception report and proactively follow up any anomalies. And the courier service was monitored daily. The pharmacy managed the risk that medication might be damaged by placing medication in a cardboard postal box prior to being placed in a tamper proof bag.

What difference this made to patients

Patients can track the progress of their medication delivery and have the assurance that any issues will be promptly identified and addressed by the pharmacy. They receive their medication adequately packaged, so it is in good condition and fit to use.

Highlighted standards

We have identified the standards most likely and least likely to be met in inspections, and highlighted examples of notable practice for each of these standards; to help everyone learn from others and to support continuous improvement:

  1. 1.1 Risk management
  2. 1.2 Reviewing and monitoring the safety of services
  3. 4.2 Safe and effective service delivery
  4. 4.3 Sourcing and safe, secure management of medicines and devices
  5. 2.2 Staff skills and qualifications