A national register of controlled drug personal identification numbers (CDPINs) would be ‘beneficial’, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.

RPS president Ash Soni said that an up-to-date register would be beneficial to community pharmacists, as it may simplify the challenges they face in confirming the legitimacy of certain controlled drugs.

His comments come after healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a report on Friday (20 July) that looked at the effectiveness of controlled drugs local intelligence networks in England.


‘Simplifying challenges ’


The CQC said it is concerned by the lack of centralised systems and pointed out that an ‘up-to-date national register of CDPINs would be beneficial’ to pharmacists as well as lessening their risk of mistakenly dispensing forged controlled drugs.

In response, Mr Soni told The Pharmacist: ‘There is a risk as stated, however pharmacists go to great lengths to ensure validity of any prescriptions or concerns relating to the legitimacy of prescriptions.

‘An up-to-date register would be beneficial, as it may simplify the challenges that pharmacists face in confirming legitimacy.’


‘Risk’ of forged prescriptions


The CQC added: ‘There is a risk that private prescriptions and requests for controlled drugs could be forged.

‘This is because community pharmacies do not have access to a national register of CDPINs, which means they cannot verify legitimacy of private prescriptions and requisitions for schedules 2 and 3 controlled drugs.’

According to the report, pharmacists prescribed 487,036 controlled drugs in 2017, almost a 50% increase compared to the previous year, with 259,394 items.

The CQC also found that patients accessing controlled drugs from multiple providers can be at risk.

It said: ‘There is a risk of inappropriate and duplicated prescribing of controlled drugs to temporary residents, as there is no central register of temporary residents for prescribers to check.

‘A central patient database accessible to prescribers would be welcome, so that patients who try to access controlled drugs from more than one service could be easily identified and supported where required.’

It recommended prescribers, such as some pharmacists, to ask patients about their current prescriptions and medicines before prescribing controlled drugs and inform their GP about any on-going treatment to minimise the risk of overprescribing and harm.