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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has commenced a consultation on allowing pharmacists to dispense prescription medicines in original packaging.

The consultation, closing on December 13, 2021, proposes changes to the Human Medicines Regulations (HMRs).

It would allow pharmacists to dispense more or less than the 10 per cent of the prescribed quantity in original packs, except where this would affect the patient’s clinical treatment. The change would not apply to controlled drugs.

The second proposed change is to supply sodium valproate in original packaging regardless of the conditions set around Original Pack Dispensing (OPD).

Currently, contractors have to supply the exact quantity prescribed, unless certain exceptions apply.

DHSC states that allowing community pharmacies to dispense medicines in their original packs will improve their efficiency and free up time for providing clinical services to patients.

OPD is one of the changes, envisaged in the 2019 through a 5-year deal agreed between DHSC, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), to transform supply and delivery of medicines.

Other changes include making hub and dispensing available to all contractors and use of skill mix in pharmacies to enable clinical integration.

Implementation of these changes were delayed partly because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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