Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the General Pharmaceutical Council, said:
“Our role is to protect patients by setting standards that pharmacies and pharmacy professionals have to meet. These standards help make sure people receive safe and effective pharmacy care and we take action if those standards are not met. We also provide guidance to pharmacy owners and pharmacy professionals to help them meet the standards.
“We are looking into concerns raised about Clear Chemist as a matter of urgency and will take any actions necessary to safeguard patients and the public.
“We carried out a targeted visit of the pharmacy earlier this week and looked in detail at whether the pharmacy was meeting the required standards, including in relation to managing risks relating to the services it is providing and in safeguarding vulnerable patients. We are now considering what further regulatory action to take.
“In the meantime, the superintendent pharmacist of Clear Chemist has advised us that he has taken the decision to only dispense prescriptions to patients over 18 years old where the patient has given consent to speak with their GP about their prescribed treatment.
“We are working with the pharmacy on key issues including signposting to other services and continuity of care for their patients.”
Background: our guidance for registered pharmacies providing pharmacy services at a distance, including on the internet
Our guidance to pharmacy owners makes clear that if a pharmacy is working with a prescriber based outside the UK, they must successfully manage the extra risks that this may create and make sure the prescriber is working within national prescribing guidelines for the UK.
We also expect pharmacy owners to make sure they do not work with online providers who are trying to circumvent the regulatory oversight put in place within the UK to ensure patient safety throughout the healthcare system.
Pharmacy owners should also make sure that the online prescribing service, or a prescriber, that they choose to work with is aware that some categories of medicines are not suitable to be supplied online unless further safeguards have been put in place to make sure that they are clinically appropriate. This includes medicines that require ongoing monitoring and management.
The full guidance is available via this link [PDF 575KB]