Al Patel, contractor at Lee Pharmacy in south east London, reports on how his staff have been progressing with the introduction of the Falsified Medicines Directive


Overall there’s been little progress from last week. All the equipment is in place, but we can’t seem to sign up. We received our password in the post, however we’ve had issues logging in to the SecurMed website – we were locked out.

The troubleshooting is so slow. I think it’s absurd there’s no helpdesk number. There should be one in place, even if it was a temporary measure to assist with the roll-on of the service.

Before you’ve actually got the username and password, you’re not classified as being ‘onboarded’, and apparently there’s a whole load of people who aren’t onboarded yet. We’ve been told there are about a hundred people who are onboarded with the system supplier we’ve gone with, but they can’t carry on because they haven’t had the software properly installed and the certificates downloaded.

I’ve heard that there are only 5% of products scanned onto the central database. This coincides with the kind of information I’ve got locally in terms of colleagues calling for help because they’ve had scanning issues, red light issues, issues with products being unknown or unable to be scanned.

Although these aren’t indications of suspicious or falsified medicines, it’s apparent that many products aren’t on the system yet.


‘Even though it feels like we’re in isolation, independents aren’t alone’


For us, it’s going to be another week before we can start decommissioning medicines so I contacted our IT helpdesk to see whether they can help. Unfortunately they can’t, but reassured me that these are common problems.

Being an independent makes you wonder whether you are alone – are you secluded? But this situation points out that even though it feels like we’re in isolation, we aren’t alone. Multiples have got problems as well.

We were hoping to have everything sorted by [our weekly team meeting on] Thursday to do a little bit of a training session but that hasn’t happened yet.

The staff are still feeling the same way they were last week, it’s all very uncertain.

FMD is just one of the deadlines we’ve got at the moment. We’ve got another deadline for quality payments that every single pharmacy needs to be doing, as well as audits and other deadlines, and they’re all as equally important as each other. This isn’t the only worry that pharmacies have got, so it’s a lot of pressure and burden on pharmacists at the moment.