What’s complicated, almost certainly expensive and has pharmacists banging their heads against a wall?

If this were the start of a (bad) joke, then the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) would be the punchline. Except the trouble with the FMD is that it’s no laughing matter.

On 9 February 2019, all UK pharmacies must be ready to comply with the pan-European anti-counterfeiting measures, which will see pharmacists scanning the unique barcodes on packs of medication before they are dispensed to verify their authenticity.

While the overall objectives of the FMD are clear, its finer details are anything but.

As I write this in May, there is still a dearth of information on a) how the FMD will work in practice and b) what’s required to prepare for it.

What is clear, however, is that pharmacists will be expected to bear the costs. Luckily, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has said that it, along with other pharmacy representative bodies, is trying to persuade the Government to absorb these costs instead.

It’s still unclear how successful they will be, but here’s hoping that a long-awaited Government FMD impact assessment – promised to materialise soon – will address these concerns.

But the problem is that the closer we get to the deadline – or FMD-Day, as I’m calling it – without a detailed plan from the Government, the less likely it is that pharmacists will have enough time to prepare.

Nonetheless, I’m hoping that pharmacists will triumph against the odds to snatch victory come FMD-Day.

To help, The Pharmacist will be bringing you the latest FMD news. But ultimately, it’s up to the Government to answer our burning questions. With just a few months to go, we need those answers now.

Want to hear more about about FMD? Join us at Pharmacy Forward on 10 June where Raj Patel MBE, chair of the UK working group for FMD, will be speaking on what this critical subject means for you