Registered pharmacies can face enforcement action by the GPhC, including fitness to practise, referrals, for not complying with GPhC standards.
It was recently reported that the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) said it has seen “high numbers of enforcement notices served” concerning high purchase numbers of codeine linctus. In total, it served 27 enforcement notices, of which 21 related to a lack of governance and risk management around the sale of over-the-counter medicines, including codeine linctus and promethazine preparations.
Following on from this, Kings View Chambers have had contact from a number of pharmacy owners. It might be helpful for pharmacists and pharmacy owners to understand the GPhC’s enforcement approach and actions, rights of appeal and fitness to practise consequences.
To practise in Great Britain, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must be registered with the GPhC and meet the GPhC’s standards. Equally, pharmacies must also be registered with the GPhC (including pharmacy departments based in a hospital or health centre) to operate in Great Britain and to use the title ‘pharmacy’.
The GPhC have statutory powers to act “to protect the public and to uphold public confidence in pharmacy” if it receives concerns about a pharmacy. These powers include enforcement options and enforcement powers:
If a pharmacy owner fails to comply with the improvement notice, the matter must be referred to the GPhC’s Fitness to Practise Committee for consideration as a “disqualification case”.
The GPhC’s Fitness to Practise Committee can disqualify a pharmacy owner for failing to meet the standards and remove their premises from the register. The fitness to practise committee can also suspend a pharmacy premises in lieu of a full hearing, prior to a disqualification decision or removal direction taking effect.
Disqualification and removal directions may be given for a limited period, meaning that premises entries will be restored at the end of that period.
Certain GPhC enforcement actions are appealable. Pharmacy owners can appeal the following actions:
In all other cases, judicial review proceedings might apply depending on the individual circumstances.
General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) Barrister
I am a leading General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) Defence Barrister vast experience defending pharmacists and pharmacy technicians facing fitness to practise proceedings before the GPhC.
- Applications for professional registration and appeals against decisions
- Advising on investigations and, where appropriate, interviews under caution
- Representation at interim orders hearings
- Written submissions to the investigating committee
- Representation before the fitness to practise committee
- Appeals against fitness to practice committee decisions
If you have been notified by the GPhC that you’re under investigation or are facing difficulties with your registration, contact me today for an initial free and no obligation consultation on 0207 060 1983 or Stephen.McCaffrey@kingsviewchambers.com.