Most medicines can still be dispensed even if they return an alert from the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) database, the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has advised.
The FMD is a series of European anti-counterfeiting measures that will see pharmacists scan packs of medication to very their authenticity before they are dispensed. It comes into effect tomorrow (9 February).
In the early days of the directive, medicines should only not be dispensed if there is ‘a clear indication’ that they are fake, the NPA advised.
The UK’s FMD Working Group has also released interim advice on what pharmacists should do if their FMD software advises that a pack of medication has an error. The NPA will also be available for FMD advice via its call centre, it said.
The NPA’s head of corporate affairs, Gareth Jones, said that there will be ‘very few’ FMD compliant packs of medication in circulation by tomorrow and that some of these might return error messages from FMD software.
He said: ‘Unless there is a clear indication that the medicine is counterfeit, or there is some other significant overriding factor, then the medicine should be dispensed.
‘It will take some time for the rest of the medicines supply chain to fully comply.
In the meantime, our advice to members is they must be mindful of the relevant guidance and be making efforts to comply, but ultimately they must put their patients’ needs first.’