Pharmacy legislation:public protector or professional hindrance?


Pharmacy originates from a background of medication compounding and supply. More recently, this role has developed away from an absolute focus on the supply of pharmaceuticals with, for example, the advent of pharmacist prescribing. Nevertheless, for a majority of the profession, medication supply remains a core activity. Regulation of the pharmacy profession is now the responsibility of the General Pharmaceutical Council, although up until 27 September 2010, this role fell to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB). Before this change, in one of the most high-profile legal cases involving a pharmacist in a professional capacity, R. v Lee, a pharmacist was prosecuted firstly for gross negligence manslaughter, later revised to offences under the Medicines Act 1968, for a single error relating to medication supply, and was given a suspended custodial sentence. Offences against sections 64 or 85 of the Medicines Act are absolute offences and there is no due diligence defence. Prosecution of a pharmacist for the supply of incorrect medication may seem a measured course of action to protect the public from the wrongful supply of potent pharmacotherapeutic agents; however, further analysis of Lee indicates that this approach may be counterproductive. An appeal of the original conviction in the Lee case has resulted in a clarification of the interpretation of section 85(5); however currently, prosecutions under section 64 are still a possibility. Owing to the seriousness of a criminal conviction under section 64, this continuation will potentially stifle the profession's ability to learn from dispensing errors.

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Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Aston Pharmacy School
College of Health & Life Sciences > Chronic and Communicable Conditions
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Medical law review following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Langley, C. A. (2014). Pharmacy legislation: public protector or professional hindrance. Medical law review, 22(1), 87-108 is available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: dispensing errors,medication supply,Medicines Act 1968,pharmacy,professional regulation,section 64,Law,Medicine (miscellaneous)
Publication ISSN: 1464-3790
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2024 07:03
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2014 03:17
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
http://medlaw.o ... content/22/1/87 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2014-12
Published Online Date: 2013-12-09
Authors: Langley, Christopher A. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0178-3778)



Version: Accepted Version

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