The Pharmacists’ Defense Association (PDA) will hold an emergency meeting on 8 and 9 October at the Pharmacy Show in Birmingham to discuss how to stop remote supervision.

In 2006, the Department of Health (DH) proposed a remote supervision plan, which enables a pharmacy to operate in the absence of a pharmacist. In 2009, the PDA launched a Stop Remote Supervision campaign to fight the proposal.

In a recent DH memo leaked to the pharmacy press, the rebalancing committee, which reviews pharmacy legislation and regulation, appeared to support the sale and supply of pharmacy and Prescription Only (PO) medicines by pharmacy technicians.

According to the memo, the Government believes that as long as the pharmacist is joinable and the pharmacy operates a consistent protocol procedure, it would be safe for them to supervise the dispensing and sale of medicines in a location other than the pharmacy.

The DH has not responded to a request for comment by The Pharmacist.

A safety issue?

The PDA fears that unscrupulous contractors would use the scheme to increase their profits at the cost of their patients’ safety.

PDA chairman Mark Koziol said: ‘Remote supervision introduces unnecessary and unwarranted risks to both patients and pharmacists.

‘The public expect and deserve a pharmacist to be present and to be at the heart of the pharmacy at which they present for their medicines or advice. This concept must lie at the very core of any new proposals on how pharmacy is to be operated in the future.’