Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has expressed its support for alterations in the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 to enable original pack dispensing (OPD) and supply of medicines containing sodium valproate by pharmacists.
PSNC’s support for changes was in response to the consultation on OPD, initiated by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The consultation had proposed regulatory changes to allow pharmacists to dispense (up to 10 per cent) more or less than the prescribed quantity of a given medicine in the manufacturer’s original packs.
Key aims of the proposal are to “support increased patient safety by ensuring patients receive the necessary information that is included in the original manufacturer’s packaging about the safe and effective use of a product,” DHSC said.
In its response, PSNC made the following comments:
- Patient considerations are more nuanced than described and include reference to patient preference and payment of the NHS charge;
- The proposed 10 per cent discretion may be insufficient to allow community pharmacy to make full use of OPD;
- OPD provides efficiencies for certain community pharmacies, particularly those with large-scale automated dispensing, or remote hub assembly units, but is unlikely to provide efficiencies for all community pharmacies;
- NHS considerations (regulatory and funding) around OPD should dovetail with the HMR changes to ensure that the HMR changes provide the basis for all options required for NHS OPD;
- Community pharmacies will be concerned about the reimbursement mechanism around OPD within NHS dispensing (this is not part of the current consultation);
- Changes around sodium valproate are agreed on an exceptional basis; however, it is considered that the general OPD proposals would achieve the desired patient safety aim for the product (with suitable professional advice).