The SPS legislation was first introduced in February 2019. Photo: iStock

The Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs), which allow pharmacists to ration drugs, will come into force on July 1 for NHS pharmacies.

Amendments to the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013, introducing the SSPs into the terms of service for NHS community pharmacies, were laid before the parliament on Friday.

The protocol allows pharmacists to dispense a reduced quantity of medicine, an alternative dosage form, a therapeutic equivalent or a generic equivalent, without going back to the prescriber if it is unable to source that medicine to patients.

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) said they were working with DHSC and with PMR system suppliers to agree the endorsements, fees and paperwork that would be associated with SSPs.

The SSP legislation was first introduced in February 2019, part of no-deal Brexit planning, as an alternative arrangement in case of a serious drug shortage.

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