Accredited Dispensary Assistant course (ADAC) FAQs

Questions for this course

Throughout the course, it refers to documents accessible on the NPA website for further reading. As I do not work for an NPA member, I do not have access to the website. Where can I assess alternative information?

The documents referred on the NPA website are additional reading material and not mandatory to the course.

All the information you need to pass your course is within your textbook, so don’t worry if you can no longer access these additional reference sources. In some cases, there may be newer updated reference sources that you can access online. If you are interested in a particular reference, please contact the Professional Development Department and we will endeavour to provide you with an alternative reference or source of information.

Module 2 talks about how to calculate charges for private prescriptions. In my pharmacy the PMR system does this automatically, so how can I answer this question?

There is no set procedure for the pricing of private and veterinary prescriptions. 

Each individual pharmacy or company will have their own policy on how they price such prescriptions. As it is a private service, it is completely separate from the NHS. The pharmacy is allowed to charge as much or as little as they like for the items dispensed. When calculating the price, the pharmacy will usually consider the following:

  • The price the pharmacy buys the item at
  • The quantity to dispense
  • Any additional costs, such as a delivery charge
  • A dispensing fee

The main difference between private prescriptions for humans and animals is that you do not charge VAT on private prescriptions for humans, but you do on veterinary prescriptions for animals.

Speak to your pharmacist about how the charges are calculated in your pharmacy. Although the price may be automatically calculated by the PMR system, it is likely that you have a set pricing policy which this is based on.

I completed my dispensary assistants course many years ago. Do I need to any further training?

This depends on when you completed the course and whether it was an accredited version. 

Accredited courses were introduced in 2005. If you enrolled on your course prior to 2005, this would not be an accredited version and therefore would not meet the GPhC’s minimum training requirements for working in the dispensary. If you have been working in the dispensary for some time it may be that you were grandparented by the previous regulator, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB). If you were grandparented you would have received written confirmation of this from the RPSGB. If you have not been grandparented, or your course was not an accredited course, you will need to be enrolled onto an accredited dispensary assistant course to meet the GPhC’s minimum training requirements.

If you have completed an accredited dispensary assistant course then you have met the minimum training requirements for working in a dispensary. However, as the world of pharmacy is constantly changing, there may have been many significant changes to the course since you completed it. You may therefore benefit from re-enrolling on to ADAC if it has been some time since you initially completed the qualification.  Alternatively, the NPA offer a range of training opportunities via NPA Learning to further develop the knowledge and skills of dispensing staff.

My Module 4 refers to a Dispensing Resources Pack. Where can I get this from?

We no longer recommend using this reference (on the PSNC website) as it is out of date, and there is no up-to-date version. This has also been removed from the Module 4 textbook.

For dispensing purposes, we suggest using the up-to-date ADAC Modules textbooks and the relevant Drug Tariff.

I have received back my assessment and am unhappy with my grade. What can I do?

If you are unhappy with the grade you receive for an assessment or with the feedback from a marker, you can request your work to be reviewed independently, by contacting the Professional Development department.

As a result of the appeal, your grade may remain the same, go up or go down. For further information, please refer the appeals procedure in your ADAC Student Guide.

Why have I have been sent a patient confidentiality factsheet by my marker?

Your allocated marker will send you a patient confidentiality factsheet when they feel you have breached patient confidentiality.

When submitting work, please ensure all patient information has been completely removed. This includes patients’ names, addresses, dates of birth, NHS numbers, barcodes and any other patient identifiable information. Removed information should also be irretrievable – for example, if you have covered the information with a permanent marker, the details must not be visible through the ink or from the back of the page. This is also why covering information with labels is not recommended – as labels can be removed.

You will have received a Patient Confidentiality Agreement in your course pack. This contains the same information as in the factsheet, and should have been read and signed by you and your supervising pharmacist.

If this is the first time you have breached confidentiality, your grade will not have been affected by this. If however you breach confidentiality again, the affected coursework will be automatically failed and you will have to complete a re-sit paper.

I am a student on an older version of the ADAC. The textbook refers to RPSGB documents which are no longer available. What should I do?

All the information you need to pass your course is within your textbook, so do not worry if you can no longer access these additional reference sources.

In some cases there may be newer updated reference sources that you can refer to, but others may not have been replaced. If you are interested in a particular reference source please contact the Professional Development department  and we will endeavour to provide you with an alternative reference or source of information.

One of the assessment questions asks me to attach a company SOP. My supervising pharmacist is not happy for me to do this what should I do?

If your supervising pharmacist would prefer for you to not attach an SOP this is not a problem. Make sure you know where to find the SOP and have read and understood it to complete the activity.

Instead of attaching it as evidence, ask your pharmacist to sign and date the bottom of the activity, stating their GPhC number and the following sentence:

 “I have asked my student not to attach the requested SOP but can confirm they have read and understood this document”.

Can I type up my answers instead of writing them?


If you are typing up your answers be sure to attach the page to the corresponding question in your workbook so that it is easy for your marker to tally up which answer goes with which question. You should also include your name, your student number and the question number on each page.

Remember to keep copies of any photocopied evidences in your pharmacy in case your work gets lost in the post. You will always be able to reprint computer generated answers, but you will not be able to re-attach your evidences unless you have kept extra copies.

The MAR chart in the Module 2 textbook and assessment workbook is different to the MAR charts we use in our pharmacy. Do I have to use the one provided?


If you use a different MAR chart in your pharmacy you can still use this to complete any MAR chart questions.

I have made a few errors in the calculation questions in module 2 and my marker has failed me. I have only missed out a few zeros, why is this a fail?

Calculations are an extremely important part of dispensing. The potential consequences of getting a pharmaceutical calculation wrong can be very serious. Missing off two zeros, which may appear to be minor on paper, is equivalent to an under-dose or overdose by a factor of 100.

For this reason it is essential that all students show a firm understanding of calculations. If you make errors in this section but have completed the rest of module 2 to a high standard, you will be asked to complete a calculation re-sit paper only. Once your calculation component is successfully completed, your grade will go up in line with the quality of work you have submitted for the whole paper.

I have come across a question that refers to a service we do not offer in our pharmacy. Do I still have to answer the question?


The ADAC course meets the minimum training for working in a dispensary. This means once you have gained your qualification you can work in any UK pharmacy dispensary, not just your current store. As a result, all students must show an understanding of all the material covered in the course, even if they do not offer a particular service within their store. You can use the information in your textbook to help you to answer the question. You can also discuss this with your supervising pharmacist or contact the Professional Development department for further help on how to complete the question.

What do I do if I have lost a module textbook or assessment paper?

We can send you a replacement, however this will incur an additional charge. Contact the Professional Development department  to request replacement material.

Is ADAC and NVQ Level 2 qualification?


This forms the underpinning knowledge for the Level 2 in Pharmacy Services Skills (QCF).

ADAC covers the minimum level of knowledge required to work in the dispensary as set out by the GPhC .

I have lost my allocated marker’s address. What do I do?

Simply contact the Professional Development department and we will give ou your marker’s address.

What grade do I need to pass the course?

Grade C or above for each Module.


Where do I send my work?

You must send your completed assessment workbooks to your allocated marker, unless otherwise instructed.

If you are not sure who your allocated marker is, contact the Professional Development Department.

Is this an accredited course?


The Accredited Dispensary Assistants Course (ADAC) as the name suggests is accredited by the GPhC and meets the minimum training requirements for anyone involved with the dispensing process.

How long do I have to complete the course?

6 to 12 months.

If you require an extension, please contact the Professional Development.

Can I transfer from ADAC to NVQ Level 3 in Pharmacy Services?

Yes, provided the transfer is done within 15 months of enrolling onto ADAC.

The modules that make up ADAC are the same as the first four modules of the NPA NVQ Level 3 in Pharmacy Services course.  The NPA is the only organisation that allows this unique ability to transfer onto the NVQ Level 3 once a student has completed ADAC. This allows students to get a feel of the course before committing to the full NVQ Level 3.

What happens if I fail an assessment?

If you fail an assessment, you are allowed two more attempts. If these are also failed, you can no longer continue on the course.

To request a resit paper, contact the Professional Development department.

Is there a minimum age to enrol on this course?


You must  be 16 or over to enrol on this course.

Do I have to have any previous qualification to enrol on this course?