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Prosecution still possible despite decriminalisation, says pharmacy minister


27 Apr 2018

Prosecution will still be possible for the most serious dispensing errors despite new legislation giving pharmacists a legal defence for inadvertent mistakes, according to pharmacy minister Steve Brine.

Although the new law is expected to reduce the risk of prosecution, it will still be possible for the most serious dispensing errors – for example when the mistake leads to a patient death – under offences such as gross negligence manslaughter, Mr Brine said on Monday (23 April).

However, an impact assessment published alongside the legislation predicted that the reduced risk of prosecution and estimated benefit to pharmacy businesses means that the sector could see savings of £565,770, he added.

The Winchester MP was answering a written question from All-Party Pharmacy Group (APPG) chair Sir Kevin Barron on whether the Government had assessed the possible effects of decriminalisation.

The law finally came into effect earlier this month (16 April) after years of campaigning from the sector.


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