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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Obtaining consent from a patient's regular doctor to supply appropriate medicines.

Pharmacy type

Internet / Distance Selling

Pharmacy context

This is a pharmacy which offers its services to people through its website. The pharmacy has a prescribing service provided by doctors based in mainland Europe. The website offers prescription medicines for a range of conditions but mainly supplies medicines for the treatment of pain and sleeping tablets. It is a private pharmacy and does not supply NHS prescriptions. People do not visit the pharmacy in person and medication is sent by post, or delivered by a courier.

Relevant standards

  • 1.1 - The risks associated with providing pharmacy services are identified and managed
  • 1.8 - Children and vulnerable adults are safeguarded
  • 4.2 - Pharmacy services are managed and delivered safely and effectively

Why this is poor practice

The pharmacy supplies medicines without informing the patient's regular doctor or making sure they agree to the supply. This is a risk because people's conditions might not be properly monitored, and their use of medication may not be appropriately controlled.

What the shortcomings are

Patients are asked for consent to inform their own GP. In a sample of 27 viewed, only one patient had given consent and provided the GP contact details. The supply was normally made even if no consent was received and the patient’s GP could not be informed. If consent was received the prescriber sent a fax to the GP, advising them of the supply. But the RP did not check this and did not have obtain any confirmation from the prescriber that this had taken place. When the patient declined consent to share information with their GP, or when they did not have a GP, the prescriber did not make a clear record setting out their justification for prescribing.

What improvements are required

The pharmacy needs to ensure approriate consent is obtained from a patient's regular GP as required by GPhC guidance on selling at a distance.

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