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Pharmacy Brief - September 2014

Pharmacy Show 2014

Visit David Reissner, Noel Wardle, Tim Jenkins and the rest of the Pharmacy team at our stand at the Pharmacy Show on 5 and 6 October 2014, at the NEC. You can find us at Stand pe43.


The EU has published a Tobacco Directive that will probably become law in 2016, e-cigarettes will:

  • be banned from advertising to the public
  • have to display health warnings
  • contain a customer information leaflet
  • list the ingredients
  • list side effects
  • have a maximum quantity of nicotine liquid, and
  • have product recall procedures.

Member states will be required to monitor usage to see if e-cigarettes are becoming a gateway to increased nicotine consumption.

Professional Indemnity Cover

The Government has revised the law governing all healthcare professionals, to have professional indemnity cover.

For pharmacy, this means every pharmacist and registered technician must have a policy of insurance or an indemnity arrangement.

An "arrangement" would include working at a pharmacy that has NPA membership.

However, if pharmacists and technicians rely on NPA cover, the new rules make them responsible for checking that any pharmacy where they work has current membership.

Rules may be made requiring registrants to produce evidence of their indemnity cover when seeking registration or when renewing registration.

Failure to comply with rules may mean that registration is refused or may lead to a misconduct charge.

In a recent case involving a chiropractor, the High Court confirmed that practising without insurance could be a ground for striking off.

Fitness to Practise 2013-14

The GPhC recently published an annual report that deals with its regulation of fitness to practise. In 2012-13, 840 cases had been opened. That figure rose to 1038 in 2013-14.

It is striking that the vast majority of cases were referred by members of the public and only about 5% of cases were the result of complaints by the GPhC's inspectors - scarcely more than the number of complaints referred by the police, who have far less day-to-day contact with pharmacies.

The report shows:

  • 21% of cases were still open after 15 months
  • 704 cases were closed
  • 40% of cases were closed quickly because they were outside the GPhC's jurisdiction
  • 24 cases resulted in suspension, and
  • 23 cases resulted in removal from the register.

Fitness to Practise Sanctions

A recent decision of the Scottish Court of Session has thrown into turmoil the Fitness to Practise Committee's understanding of the sanctions available to it.

The FtP Committee had struck off a pharmacist because of a conviction for attacking his wife and for failing to report the conviction to the GPhC. The Committee decided that the maximum period of suspension of 12 months would not be an adequate sanction, so the pharmacist was struck off.

Three senior Scottish judges held that the Committee could have imposed a 12-month suspension and recommended to a future Committee that when the suspension was reviewed at the end of that period, a further period of suspension should be imposed.


The GPhC's 2013-14 annual report reveals a very negative attitude to inspection on the part of pharmacy owners, many of whom appear to resent being inspected at all:

  • surprisingly, nearly 20% of owners thought that inspections were unnecessary
  • nearly half of all owners believe that inspections do not help improve services
  • two-thirds said inspections take too long
  • three-quarters said that inspections take time away from patient contact

It’s a deal

Our Pharmacy team is seeing a busy summer period with a steady flow of sale and purchase instructions.

Since our last edition we have acted for:

  • St Peter's Pharmacy (Burnley) Limited on its purchase of Burnley based Keirby Healthcare Limited
  • Stuart and Catherine Nicholls on their purchase of shares in Kent based pharmacy operator Nicholls Double L Limited
  • Wellway Pharmacy Ltd on its purchase by way of relocation of an NHS Pharmacy contract relating to Northumberland based Greystoke Surgery from Greystoke(Morpeth) Limited
  • Dallas Wear Ltd on its purchase of a Milton Keynes based health centre pharmacy from Ashok Tosar

This article was written by David Reissner.

For more information please contact David on +44 (0)20 7203 5065 or david.reissner@crsblaw.com.