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UK GDP Association Delivers Affordable GDP Consultancy for Small Businesses


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“We want to help plug the gap where current consultancies fail these smaller businesses, and ultimately benefit UK patients” – says Dave Rushton, Chairman of the UK GDP Association

The UK GDP Association has been established as a non-profit organisation, operating as a Community Interest Company (CIC), with a focus on providing a broader support network, particularly for small and medium business enterprises and pharmacy wholesalers.

In addition to delivering commercially viable Good Distribution Practice (GDP) consultancy services for simple models with smaller budgets, the association aims to function as a networking platform for Responsible Persons in the UK.

As members of the association, companies and individuals can gain multiple benefits that will add value to their business through access to knowledge, discounted training, consultancy services, audit and inspection support, as well as resources like document templates for risk assessments, CAPA, deviations, and more.

Moreover, members can enjoy the benefit of a like-minded support network via a dedicated GDP community hub, providing a platform for discussions, seeking advice, and fostering new relationships.

“Our mission is to ensure that patient safety, GDP compliance, and excellent quality is paramount in all organisations, regardless of budget,” the company said.

In an exclusive interview with Pharmacy Business, Dave Rushton, Chairman, the UK GDP Association, tells us more about the company and its vision. Excerpts follow:

The Origin of the GDP Association Idea

In my time at Paradigm Shift Consulting, I have often cut costs or provided pro bono work for companies that could otherwise not afford support, or have been in a bad situation. For example, their home is at risk if their business fails, or it has been a job where someone has done something very wrong like introducing falsified medicines to the legitimate supply chain or unknowingly selling pre-cursors for crystal meth.

This was not a sustainable way to do business, and I recognised that many of the potential client base are “simple model” like transport, cash and carry, pharmacy or dispensing doctor collection points. Where some consultancies might charge the equivalent of two months of an FTE for a one-day audit we recognised that there was a need for cost-effective, no-nonsense support and my idea for the GDP Association was born. Providing largely a cookie-cutter model, we can slash costs and help standardise good practice amongst those who have not been catered to before now.

Distinctive Features of the UK GDP Association

We are not-for-profit, and we are a team of specialists who provide pro bono services and support various charitable causes. A number of us are walking 100 miles in May, I did the push up challenge last year and we regularly support Inter Care and Cancer Research, so charity is close to our hearts, and this seemed a clever way to become a support to the community, logistics providers wishing to safely and sustainably enter the market.

The more companies can safely handle and distribute medicines, the better it is for the UK patients. Although people say “It’s only GSL,” it is still a critical part of our healthcare infrastructure… the corner shop with children’s paracetamol, for example.

Our business ethic has always been to see what people want and need… rather than offering a standard service, take it or leave it. We have also had many requests for service where people have said “money is no object” however we walked away from these “opportunities.” Not all opportunities are the same, and not all business or money is good. I have always preferred to walk away than create more risk.

Goals of UK GDP Association

We want to help plug the gap where current consultancies fail these smaller businesses and ultimately benefit UK patients. Things as simple as paracetamol suspension can become dangerous if exposed to low temperature, with the precipitated active ingredient potentially causing overdose in the young or old. If we can support transporters and those who supply GSL or P meds to the general public, I believe we can make a difference.

Strategies for sustainability and growth

The feedback we have had so far has been fantastic, even supported by the MHRA’s Lead Senior GDP Inspector, Cheryl Blake. The agency has kindly permitted her to speak at our conference and share her pragmatic view on how companies can be better prepared and lower risk. From our two-day event at Making and Distributing Pharmaceuticals, we have had a lot of interest, not only from brand owners and transport companies, but pharmacists and other professionals.

We aim to provide something unique to the market, CPD events every quarter, after our May conference we will be holding CPD in August, November and February…. and these CPDs will be for all, and can be suitable for pharmacists peer led requirement. Session will vary, but some examples are; Management and commercial, warehouse and operations, transport and export and, of course, quality assurance principles, which can be applied in any business and even at home! All for only £25 per half-day session if they are a member, which is only £29 + VAT per year.

I wanted the business to be a non-profit so we could gather support from donations, sponsorship and membership. I didn’t believe that this would be achievable as a for-profit company, nor would it be ethical.

Future Vision for UK GDP Association

We see the role expanding into exports, standardised value-based operational training and hopefully being able to work with the HDA to influence MHRA policy around medicines.

We are working towards creating a diploma or accreditation for companies and individuals who handle meds and act as an indicator of quality to customers, suppliers and the inspectorate.

Being able to provide good quality, great value advice, and continuing the pro bono work with reviewing post-inspection letters, termination of licences and potentially offering subsidised or free support to those who play a valuable part in the supply chain… not medicines traders but those who add value. We would like to extend our support to Northern Ireland as well, once we are able.

The UK GDP Association Committee comprises of industry experts and interested parties, including the ex-Lead Senior GDP Inspector of the MHRA, Alan Bentley, the Deputy Director of Vaccine Supply & Management, Covid Vaccines Unit, Carole Boulton and the Department of Health and Social Care Responsible Person, Graham Stewart. All of the committee have valuable experience and a desire to support the medicines supply chain.

The Association is hosting its inaugural annual conference on 15 and 16 May 2024, and is supported by the MHRA. There will be a wealth of value based knowledge at industry beating prices, including discounts for multiple attendees as well as remote attendance options!

Please visit their website for more information, to book tickets or to donate –




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