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"A pharmacy without a pharmacist is a shop"

Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Martin Astbury has warned that any loosening of pharmacy’s supervision requirements could jeopardise patient safety.

Whatever legal changes that might take place in the future affecting pharmacy, legislation should make it compulsory for a pharmacist to be present whenever a community pharmacy is open, he told the annual RPS conference. “A pharmacy without a pharmacist is not a pharmacy – it is a shop.”

Medicines are not ordinary items of commerce, he continued. It would be totally inappropriate for anyone other than a pharmacist to supervise the sale and supply of prescription or pharmacy medicines.

Turning to the threatened cuts to community pharmacy funding in England, he called them “unwelcome and short sighted”, making community pharmacists feel undervalued at a time when they were working incredibly hard.

“It disappoints me when I hear leaders of our profession, when talking up new clinical roles [for pharmacists], talking down the supply role – they are talking down the fact that pharmacists dispense 1 billion prescriptions safely each year,” he said.

Pharmacy cuts would be unwelcome and short sighted

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