Accredited Dispensary Assistant course (ADAC)

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 assess online. 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.

Module 2 talks about how to calculate charges for private prescriptions. In my pharmacy the PMR system does this automatically, 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 bought the item at
  • The quantity dispensed
  • Any additional costs such as a delivery charge, if the item is something not normally stocked by your wholesaler, this is especially true for veterinary medicines
  • A professional fee for the pharmacist providing their clinical knowledge and expertise in supplying the item.

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, as although the price is 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 does not meet the 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 on you an Accredited Dispensary Assistant’s 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.

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

The dispensing resources pack is available from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) to download or you can order a paper copy from their website at a charge.

I have received back my coursework and am unhappy with my grade. I have been awarded a C but feel my work is of a much higher standard. What can I do?

If you are unhappy with the grade you receive for a piece of coursework or with the feedback from a marker you can request that the module is re-marked independently by a new marker in line with the NPA Appeals Procedure. Your work will then be independently remarked and as a result your grade may remain the same, go up or down.

I have been sent a patient confidentiality factsheet but I haven’t breached patient confidentiality, why is this?

Your allocated marker will send you a Patient Confidentiality Factsheet when they feel you have breached patient confidentiality. Maintaining confidentiality is paramount; during your role you will come across sensitive patient information and it is essential that you do not disclose this to any unauthorised person. Patients have a right to expect that you will keep all information about them private and may be reluctant to seek advice from you in the future if they have concerns that you will not maintain confidentiality.

When sending your coursework make sure all patient information has been removed. This includes patients’ names, addresses, NHS numbers and any other patient identifiable information. Removal must ensure that no patient information remains; if you have covered the information with permanent marker, the details must not be visible through the marker pen or from the back of the page.

You must read and understand the confidentiality factsheet, once this has been done, both you and your supervising pharmacist must sign the factsheet and return to the NPA.

If this is the first time you have received this factsheet your grade will not have been affected by this breach. If however you breach confidentiality again in a subsequent piece of coursework, 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 course. The textbook refers to RPSGB documents and teh MEP which are no longer available, what should I do?

Don’t worry!

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 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?

Don’t worry!

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”.

I would prefer to type un my answers than write them, can I do this?


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.

Remember to keep copies of any photocopied evidence 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 evidence unless you have kept extra copies of these.

The MAR chart in the Module 2 workbook is different to the MAR charts we use in our pharmacy, do I have to use the one workbook?


If you find the MAR chart in your pharmacy easier to use you can use this to complete a MAR chart for the patient in the question. Attach the completed MAR chart to your workbook before submitting to your marker.

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 working in a pharmacy. The potential consequences of getting a pharmaceutical calculation are huge; missing off two zeros is equivalent to the figure being wrong by a factor or 100. I’m sure you can imagine the risks of giving a patient a dose which is 100 times higher than they should have been given.

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. Although your work will be considered a fail grade this is really a misnomer and can instead be considered as “grade to be confirmed”. 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 module.

I have come across an assesment question that refers to a service that 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 with your supervising pharmacist or contact the Professional Development Department for further help on how to complete your assessment.

What do I do if I have lost a marking form, module or assessment paper?

Don’t panic! 

We can send you a replacement marking form, module or assessment paper, however this may 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 dictated by the GPhC .  The Level 2 in Pharmacy Services skills (QCF) comprises of a knowledge component (the ADAC modules) and an evidence collection component.

The full Level 2 in Pharmacy Service skills (QCF) course does not qualify a dispensing assistant to perform any additional tasks compared to a dispensing assistant who has completed an accredited dispensary assistants (knowledge based) course.  Therefore as the qualification is more expensive and more time consuming, we do not offer this course, as we do not feel it is beneficial to our members.

I have lost my allocated marker’s contact details, what do I do?

Please contact the Professional Development .

What grade do I need to pass the course?

Grade C or above.

You will be graded on each Module separately and need to get a grade C or above for each module for successful completion of the course.

Where do I send my work?

You must send your completed workbooks, case studies and multiple choice questions 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.

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

Don’t panic!

We can send you a replacement module or assessment paper, however this may incur an additional charge.

Contact the Professional Development to request a replacement module or assessment paper.

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?


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 the student to get a feel of the course before committing to the full NVQ Level 3.  The NPA will not charge you any additional costs for transferring from ADAC to NVQ Level 3. Students are able to transfer within 15 months of enrolment (not completion).

The NPA will not charge you any additional costs for transferring from ADAC to NVQ Level 3 course. If a student decides to transfer, the cost of ADAC will be deducted from the total cost of the NVQ Level 3 course.

What happens if I fail an assessment?

If you fail an assessment, you have two further attempts at passing it, after which, you can no longer continue on the course.

To request a resit paper, contact the Professional Development.

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?

Ideally – yes.

This course is suitable for new Dispensing Staff, part time dispensing staff, relief dispensers including Medicines Counter Assistants, people who want to try the course before committing to the full NVQ Level 3 in Pharmacy Services.