Pharmacy professionals from up and down the country flocked to Birmingham this week for the tenth annual The Pharmacy Show returned for a 10th edition on 8 and 9 October.

Here’s the pick of what The Pharmacist learned during the packed schedule.

1. An update on the Falsified Medicines Directive

The new compulsory directive on falsified medicines (FMD) will be implemented in February 2019, as an end-to-end verification system to stop the inadvertent dispensing of counterfeit medicines.

Bharat Shah, Sigma Pharmaceuticals managing director, said: ‘Manufacturers will put a two-dimensional barcode on each product with a unique serial number. Dispensers, such as pharmacists, will then have to decommission the products.’

Mr Shah revealed in a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis that pharmacies would have to bear the costs of all the scanning equipment and the necessary software updates.

He said that the use of a barcode reader – which all pharmacies will have to install in their premises and pay for out of their own pockets – is likely to increase pharmacy staff’s workload.

On the other hand, the scheme would tackle FMD and provide pharmacy workforce with new skills on FMD protocols, he said.

‘Community pharmacies will be working at a Europe-wide solution and hopefully increase their prestige on the market as they won’t supply counterfeited products.

‘With the signalisation of packs, pharmacies will be able to link the scans to patient records through their PMR systems, in case of dispensing errors,’ he said.

2. Revalidation is on track

Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), spoke about the revalidation scheme for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, which was developed to ‘keep their standards up-to-date’.

‘We’re moving away from an historic position in which suitability and fitness to be on the register was demonstrated at one critical point and thereafter not being revalidated,’ he said.

Revalidation will gradually build upon the current continual professional development (CPD) model and allow pharmacy staff to reflect on their learning and make sure they deliver safe and effective care. The GPhC will implement the framework in 2018/19.

3. How to optimise medication

Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer at NHS England, told delegates explained that deprescribing medications, such as the ones with little evidence of effectiveness, reduces the risk of medicine-related complications.

Pharmacists must have the right skills and a patient-centred approach to give them the best possible health outcomes.

‘There’s going to be an increase focus on quality and safety.

‘We’re making available up to a thousand postgraduate certificates a year through to 2019 for community pharmacists who feel their clinical skills would benefit from doing a programme like this one,’ he said.