GPhC takes action against six pharmacies regarding the sale of codeine linctus

Since August 2020 we have taken enforcement action against six separate pharmacies following intelligence-led inspections relating to unusually high volumes of sales of codeine linctus. 

Codeine linctus is classified as a P medicine under the Medicines Act 1968 and the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 which allows it to be sold only under a pharmacist’s supervision, by a pharmacy, without prescription. The medicine, occasionally used for a dry cough, is high risk because of known problems associated with its misuse, abuse or overuse. 

In view of the quantity of codeine linctus that these pharmacies were buying, our inspection team undertook a series of unannounced inspections. Following these inspections, each of these pharmacies has had conditions put on their registration that the pharmacies must not sell or supply any codeine linctus preparations, with the exception of supplying this medicine against an NHS prescription.

Claire Bryce-Smith, Director of Insight, Intelligence and Inspection said:

“Opioids are high-risk medicines. Most pharmacies have appropriate safeguards in place to prevent them being misused. We have taken robust action against six pharmacies that did not have these safeguards in place.

“We will continue to use the information we receive as intelligence to identify pharmacies supplying opioids inappropriately and will take necessary enforcement action against them in order to protect the general public and ensure they receive safe and effective care.”