Prescription direction

The NPA, through it's Commissioning, Contracts and Funding task group seeks to secure Government / regulator action to stop this activity which seriously undermines community pharmacy businesses.

The NPA has been notified of several instances of GP practices allegedly directing patients to use a particular pharmacy in which the practice partners hold a financial interest.

NPA support

A toolkit has been developed to equip NPA Members to confront prescription direction in their locality. It should work in tandem with our efforts nationally to change the regulatory system to more effectively prevent the practice of prescription direction.

The toolkit includes:

  • A description of the legal and ethical rules which GP practices and pharmacies should be following. This will help you understand what grounds may exist for a formal complaint
  • A joint statement from the British Medical Association (BMA), Pharmacy Voice (PV) and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) asking GP practices and pharmacies not to take part in any activity that constitutes prescription direction.
  • A complaint form, which can assist patients who wish to make a complaint about prescription direction
  • A form which patients can use to re-state their choice of pharmacy to their practice
  • A narrative setting out the value of ‘bricks and mortar’ community pharmacy. This will be helpful in any communications which set out to highlight the potential loss to a community of a damaged pharmacy network
  • A ‘Committed to this Community’ poster to raise awareness of the contribution independent pharmacies make to the local community and thereby promote loyalty


Bespoke advice wherever you are in the UK

Most of the complaints in relation to prescription direction are from pharmacists in England. Nevertheless, some of the materials in this toolkit are valid for use elsewhere in the UK.

Wherever you are in the UK, you can access two sources of tailored advice on this matter. For further advice on the regulations and how to challenge these practices locally, please email

If you are considering approaching local newspapers or radio, or the issue has already been picked up by local journalists, the NPA’s Communications Team can provide advice on how to handle the media: