New guidance sets out way forward for community pharmacy on FMD

31 Jan 2018

Pharmacy leaders have issued guidance to help community pharmacies understand and implement the EU Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), as the 12-month milestone to the implementation of key provisions approaches.

The UK FMD Working Group for Community Pharmacy says that the guidance is intended to build understanding of the options open to pharmacy contractors and to “start conversations” between pharmacies and IT system suppliers. It is not a complete and final implementation plan for FMD, because many important details from the Government are still missing and each pharmacy owner will have to make their own decisions about how FMD is implemented within their own business.

The Way Forward for FMD in Community Pharmacy covers key assumptions about FMD, high level processes for incorporating authentication in to existing dispensing workflows, handling stock transition, what IT systems will need to deliver and implications for patient safety. A key assumption concerning Brexit is that the UK will be considered, for the purposes of the FMD Delegated Regulation, still to be ‘inside the EU’, mirroring the UK Government’s stated aim of “high regulatory alignment” with EU medicines legislation.

Chair of the working group, NPA Board member Raj Patel MBE, said:

“FMD is going to happen, and it’s only a year until the kick off date for safety features including 2D barcodes and tamper-proof seals on medicine packs. Time is short, so we must make whatever preparations we can, on the basis of the facts already available, even if these are frustratingly incomplete. There remains a yawning information gap and a lack of assurances about the position post-Brexit, so we are working from reasonable assumptions about the position. We see it as our duty to supply pharmacies with the best steer possible, while acknowledging that meeting the February 2019 implementation date will be heroically challenging, to say the least.

“The pharmacy sector has major investment decisions in relation to FMD which cannot be postponed for much longer. However, we can now start having conversations with each other and our suppliers, so that we are better prepared.”

The new guidance paper has been published on FMD Source, the authoritative portal for FMD information run by the UK FMD Working Group for Community Pharmacy.

The group brings together all the main pharmacy bodies representing community pharmacy to influence and inform the implementation of FMD in the UK. The group comprises expert representatives from NPA, AIM, CCA, PSNC, CPW, CPS and CPNI. It meets regularly with DH and MHRA to discuss how FMD will operate in UK pharmacies and to seek a practical and pragmatic solution for its implementation.


Related upcoming webinar: The impact of the EU Falsified Medicines Directive on NPA members