A community pharmacy in Greater Manchester has become the first in the UK to comply with the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has announced.

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.

Market Pharmacy in Bolton is believed to have become fully compliant with FMD after successfully decommissioning and recommissioning a product, according to the NPA.


Getting ready ahead of deadline


Market Pharmacy, which forms part of the Hollowood Chemists group, opted for a standalone FMD solution offered by the NPA’s business partner FMD IT Limited (Ltd).

Hollowood Chemists group owner Raj Patel highlighted that contractors do not have to wait until the February deadline to start complying with FMD.

He said: ‘My pharmacies wanted to make a start now, to uncover any implementation problems and resolve them ahead of time. I’m pleased to say that everything went smoothly.’


Brexit uncertainties


In the summer, the NPA urged contractors to ‘carefully’ choose their FMD systems and to avoid long contracts with suppliers given uncertainties around Brexit.

Although the pharmacy body said that a system integrated within the patient medical record (PMR) is likely to be more beneficial, having a separate FMD process could be an ‘attractive option for many pharmacies’ in the short-term.

NPA head of corporate affairs Gareth Jones said: ‘The NPA is working hard to provide as much information on FMD as possible to help members get prepared.

‘With the clock ticking, we’re advising members to start planning now and not to delay preparations. We do however advise you to avoid getting tied into long-term contracts with IT suppliers, given the uncertainty about what may happen after 29 March.

Whether contractors choose a PMR-integrated or standalone solution, the NPA ‘strongly’ advised them to check the contract length and exit terms in the event of a no-deal Brexit.