Open display of pharmacy medicines: what the GPhC says


The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has set out clearly what it has decided about the open display of pharmacy medicines or self selection.

  1. self selection is not allowed at this time in Great Britain
  2. the law says that the sale of pharmacy medicines must be supervised by a pharmacist and the law has not changed in this regard
  3. self selection will not be allowed in Great Britain until key safeguards are in place. No date has been set for that yet
  4. any pharmacy wishing to introduce self selection will have to assure the GPhC that it can be done safely, before self selection will be allowed
  5. the GPhC will not be requiring pharmacies to introduce self selection; pharmacies will have a choice whether they introduce it and that choice will bring clear responsibilities, like keeping patients safe 


Duncan Rudkin, chief executive and registrar, said:

“As the independent regulator our priority is patient safety. The law requires that pharmacists must supervise the sale of Pharmacy medicines – and that law is not changing. Pharmacists have a key role in making sure that patients receive the right advice and information about medicines.

“A key element of our work to strengthen the regulation of pharmacy is a new set of standards which spell out clearly the responsibilities of pharmacy owners and superintendents. These include assessing and managing risks and ensuring that medicines are stored and supplied safely to patients. The standards also require owners to empower pharmacy professionals to exercise their professional judgement in the best interest of patients.

“And we are working to introduce a completely new way of inspecting pharmacies so that we can be assured that owners of pharmacies and superintendents are living up to these standards - and supporting their pharmacists to provide effective and appropriate supervision of medicines sales.

“Self selection of Pharmacy medicines is not allowed at the moment. We will only allow it to happen once key safeguards are in place. Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive of National Voices, has summed up our position well, saying that making Pharmacy medicines available for self-selection is only appropriate if pharmacies can demonstrate that they have a system for making sure patients receive the appropriate advice about medicines.  “