Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, said:
“The health, safety and well-being of patients must be the first concern for pharmacy owners and superintendents when deciding which products and services to supply in a pharmacy, and for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians when giving advice and information to patients.
“When deciding whether a product such as an e-cigarette should be sold from a registered pharmacy, we would expect the pharmacy owner and the superintendent pharmacist to consider relevant guidance from appropriate bodies such as the MHRA and RPS.
“Pharmacy owners and superintendent pharmacists must also ensure that staff are empowered to exercise their professional judgement in the interests of patients and the public.
“When a patient goes into a pharmacy seeking advice on giving up smoking, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have an important role in explaining the options available, including the risks and benefits of different products, to help them make an informed choice.
“This would include impartial and up-to-date information about the availability and benefits of other products such as Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT), for which there is evidence about their safety, quality and efficacy.
“Our standards spell out the professional responsibilities that arise for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians whose religious or moral beliefs prevent them from providing a particular service.”
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for the regulation of medicines and medical devices.