Keith Ridge: Pharmacists will be investigated for stockpiling

Keith Ridge (Picture credit: Twitter)

Pharmacists who stockpile medicines will be investigated, NHS England chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge has warned.

In a letter issued on January 17 updating pharmacists on the Government’s efforts to ensure the continuity of medicines supply in the event of a no deal Brexit, Mr Ridge says it is “not helpful or appropriate for anyone to stockpile medicines locally”.

He adds: “As we know from managing normal medicines shortages, instances of individual organisations stockpiling can risk additional pressure on the availability of medicines for patients in other areas of the country.

“To ensure we manage supply effectively across the NHS, any incidences involving the over-ordering of medicines will be investigated and followed up with the relevant chief or responsible pharmacist directly. I am expecting senior pharmacy leaders to ensure local collaboration to meet patient needs wherever necessary.”

In the letter Mr Ridge outlines measures the NHS and Government have taken as part of no deal contingency preparations, including asking the pharmaceutical industry to develop a six-week stockpile, devising alternative transport routes for medicines and the Serious Shortage Protocols that will give pharmacists powers dispense against a protocol instead of a prescription where needed.

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