The Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) is a ‘must-have’ to ensure patient safety, a panel has heard.

In a roundtable on 30 October – organised by The Pharmacist in collaboration with NHS Digital – contractor and Leicester Independent Pharmacist Company (LIPCO) chair Mukesh Lad said that FMD will hugely benefit community pharmacy in the long-term.

He also said that it is a ‘must-have from a patient safety perspective’.

FMD is a pan-European set of anti-counterfeiting measures designed to stop falsified medicines from entering the supply chain. From 9 February 2019, pharmacists will have to scan the unique bar code on every pack of medicine before they are dispensed.

‘Must-have’ for patients


Mr Lad – who is also the superintendent of the Mr Pickford's pharmacy group – added: ‘When I first found out about FMD, I thought that there was probably a hidden agenda from the point of view of the manufacturers.

‘But as you start thinking of it as a pharmacist and your obligations to patients, having falsified medication in the supply chain isn’t good. So from a patient safety perspective, it’s a must-have.’


‘Huge benefits’ for pharmacy


Mr Lad argued that the directive will also have ‘huge’ benefits for pharmacy in the long-term.

He said: ‘If we can get over some of the hang-ups and get clear information, the benefits for us as community pharmacy are huge. We would have good stock control and that would help the business and make sure we've got adequate amounts of the right stock for the patient.

‘If I have that [level of] control over what [medicine] goes in and out my pharmacies and who I've given that to, it’s going to help me manage my business better and promote the right services.’

During the discussion, McKesson UK’s FMD program manager Sarah Gibb highlighted that unlike other retail items such as batteries and lettuces, medication in the UK is not batch tracked. ‘Yet we are supplying medication to patients and we do not track it,’ she said.

‘As long as we can have a clear, concise way of doing it, rather than all of this ambiguity around FMD at the moment, [implementing it is] a no-brainer. 

However, the panellists agreed that FMD will significantly increase workload for both pharmacy teams and wholesalers, with the latter set to face delays in delivering medicines to pharmacies.


How should I prepare for FMD? Click here to find out.