Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) need to come up with another system to replace SecureMed in the event of a no-deal Brexit, said Leyla Hannbeck, Director of Pharmacy at the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).

SecureMed provides the medicines verification system required under the EU Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) which came into force on 9 February.

Speaking at the Sigma Conference in Muscat, Oman on 18 February, Hannbeck said SecurMed will shut down if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 march, with MHRA required to take over the EU functions for human medicines.

In another Brexit related update, she assured pharmacists that they will be fine from an insurance perspective as long as they follow the serious shortage protocol, which allows pharmacists to swap drugs, reduce quantity or change dosage, overruling GP prescriptions.

The government has proposed these emergency powers for pharmacists as part of its Brexit contingency plans.

Touching upon the upcoming changes in the way the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) conducts its inspection of pharmacies, she informed that the regulator will make greater use of patient reviews on the NHS.UK website and plans to visit 300-400 pharmacies every month starting from April.

While the MHRA is the enforcing authority of FMD, GPhC will ensure during their visits that the pharmacies have met with the requirements under the regulation, she added.

Hannbeck indicated that the Digital Minor Illness Referral Service (DMIRS), which involves a digital referral to a community pharmacy from NHS 111, could be adopted at the national level.

Hannbeck also urged pharmacists to understand how to handle personal data in the context of data privacy regulation GDPR. The queries to NPA regarding this relate to data breaches and requests by individual patients for deletion of their data, she added.

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