Three online pharmacies in the dock over supply of high-risk drugs

Three online pharmacies are facing enforcement action for supplying high risk medicines to patients without taking appropriate steps.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) said it had identified significant patient safety concerns during recent pharmacy inspections.

The independent regulatory body told Pharmacy Business that Medix Pharmacy, Pronto Healthcare Ltd and White Pharmacy were facing enforcement action.

It said: “One of the enforcement options open to us is to disqualify a pharmacy owner for failing to meet the standards and remove all premises entries from the register, but that has not happened in any of these cases so far.”

According to the reports published in the recently launched Pharmacy inspections website, both Medix and Pronto pharmacies failed to meet the standards for governance, premises and services including medication management.

The regulators found Stevenage-based Medix Pharmacy “cannot show that it has stored medicines which require cold storage correctly.”

Bolton-based Pronto Pharmacy has dispensed some prescriptions including metformin without any monitoring. GPhC’s report said “the pharmacy does not make enough checks to ensure medicines are appropriate for the people they supply.”

The report on Altonbased White Pharmacy was yet to be published although GPhC warned that the pharmacy “must not sell or supply any controlled drugs from schedule 1 to 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.”

Currently, these pharmacies have conditions on their registration and the enforcement actions would remain in place until it is shown that these pharmacies are following GPhC guidance and meeting all standards.

Duncan Rudkin, the chief executive of the GPhC, said he has already written to online pharmacy owners asking how “they are keeping patients safe online and following our guidance.”

“Patient safety is our central focus, and we are continuing to work closely
with other regulators involved in regulating online primary care services,
governments and other stakeholders across Great Britain to improve the
quality of care for patients online,” he added.