Brexit: information for pharmacy professionals and pharmacy owners

On 31 December 2020, the Brexit transition period ended, following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU).

From 1 January 2021, the registration process for some pharmacists with non-UK qualifications has changed.

The type of application and evidence you need to provide to register depends on your pharmacy qualifications, rather than your nationality.

Pharmacy professionals with qualifications from the European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) follow revised routes to recognition of their qualifications. 

This Q&A is drawn from Guidance for EEA-qualified and Swiss healthcare professionals practising in the UK from 1 January 2021 published by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Alongside this Q&A and the DHSC guidance, we would also recommend referring to guidance from other organisations such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. Use the links below to navigate to the relevant section:

For pharmacists

For pharmacy technicians

For pharmacy owners  


For pharmacists

Does the end of transition period affect EEA pharmacists already on the GPhC register?

The registration status of EEA pharmacists on part 1 of the GPhC register has not changed. EEA pharmacists can continue practising now the transition period has ended.

If pharmacists have a different type of registration, such as temporary and occasional, we will contact them to discuss the available options.

How can holders of EEA pharmacist qualifications join the GPhC register from 1 January 2021?

EEA qualified pharmacists with relevant European qualifications are still able to apply to register for up to two years and have a simplified route to registration, provided their qualification is listed in Annex V section 5.6.2 of Directive 2005/36/EC.

Pharmacist applicants who qualified outside of the EEA, or who qualified in the EEA but don’t have relevant European qualifications, need to apply for registration via our overseas registration process.

The UK and Switzerland have signed a Citizens’ Rights Agreement, so Swiss nationals and any dependents or spouses with acquired rights in Switzerland will be able to apply for registration with us as they do now, for at least the next four years.

How does the end of the transition period affect my application to register as a pharmacist with the GPhC?

If pharmacists completed and submitted their application before 31 December 2020, they are not affected by these changes.

Applications submitted after this date are being processed based on the pharmacist’s qualification, rather than their nationality. This may mean the type of application and evidence they will need to provide to register has changed.

We are contacting pharmacists who may be eligible to apply via a different route from 1 January 2021, to discuss the options available to them.

How can non-EEA nationals who qualified in the EEA join the GPhC pharmacist register?

Non-EEA nationals with a relevant EEA qualification, may no longer need to apply through our overseas routes. We will contact them to discuss the available options.

Are there any changes for how non-EEA nationals with non-EEA pharmacist qualifications need to register?

No. These routes to registration remain unchanged. You will need to apply via our overseas routes.

Are there any changes for UK-qualified pharmacists who want to work in the EEA?

Most EEA countries no longer automatically recognise qualifications from the UK.

Pharmacists with a UK qualification have to apply to work in an EEA country in the same way as an applicant from outside the EU.

Processes differ from country to country, so pharmacists will need to contact the regulator in the country they wish to work in, to find out how they can register.

Is my registration and revalidation affected?

Renewal and revalidation requirements apply to everyone on the register, irrespective of that person’s route to registration. Requirements are unaffected by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

Do I have the right to live and work in the UK?

Please visit gov.uk for more information regarding settled status and visa information.   


For pharmacy technicians

Does the end of transition period affect EEA pharmacy technicians already on the GPhC register?

The registration status of EEA pharmacy technicians on part 2 of the GPhC register has not changed. EEA pharmacy technicians can continue practising.

Does the end of the transition period affect my application to register as a pharmacy technician with the GPhC?

From 1 January 2021, all applicants with pharmacy technician qualifications from outside Great Britain will need to complete the GPhC approved pharmacy technician qualifications before being eligible to make an application to register with the GPhC.

Are there any changes for UK-qualified pharmacy technicians who want to work in the EEA?

Pharmacy technicians with UK qualifications have to apply to work in an EEA country in the same way as an applicant from outside the EU.

Processes differ from country to country, so pharmacy technicians will need to contact the regulator in the country they wish to work in, to find out how they can register.

How is my registration and revalidation affected?

Renewal of registration and revalidation requirements is unaffected if the European qualified pharmacy professional is on the GPhC register or has submitted a complete application on or before 31 December 2020.

Do I have the right to live and work in the UK?

Please visit gov.uk for more information regarding settled status and visa information.   


For pharmacy owners

I wish to employ someone who has settled status. What evidence would I need to see to confirm they have the right to live and work in the UK?

Employers should check government guidelines about proof of settled status.

If you employ a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician, you must also check that they are registered as a pharmacist or pharmacy technician with the GPhC.

I wish to employ someone who has a European Professional Card for temporary service provision. What evidence would I need to see to confirm they have the right to live and work in the UK?

If a European qualified pharmacist presents you with a European Professional Card for temporary service provision indicating that they are entitled to provide temporary and occasional services in the UK you must check that the individual is registered in Part 4 of the register.

You can find a pdf of the names of EEA qualified pharmacists entered in Part 4 of the register. This tells you whether the named individual was entered on the basis of an EPC issued by their European Competent authority with no GPhC validation of documents or whether they were entered following validation of their declaration and all supporting documents by the GPhC.

If you cannot find the pharmacist’s name in Part 4 of the register please contact info@pharmacyregulation.org before you employ the individual to provide temporary and occasional pharmacy services.

You can find a pdf of the names of EEA qualified pharmacy technicians entered in Part 5 of the register. All individuals have been entered following validation of their declaration and all supporting documents by the GPhC.

If you cannot find the pharmacy technician’s name in Part 5 of the register please contact info@pharmacyregulation.org before you employ the individual to provide temporary and occasional pharmacy services.

Please be aware that Part 4 and Part 5 of the GPhC register for temporary and occasional service providers includes a date against each entry to indicate when the pharmacy professional’s right to provide T&O services ends.

Can I sponsor EU/EEA citizens?

Employers should check government guidelines about visa requirements for EEA citizens and people from other countries.

What are the regulatory requirements under the EU Falsified Medicines Directive, now that the UK has left the EU?

Following the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the regulatory requirements under the EU Falsified Medicines Directive no longer apply to pharmacy owners and pharmacy professionals supplying medicines in Great Britain.

Further information can be found on the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee website and in guidance from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Will the EU mandated distance-selling logo be replaced?

Negotiations are currently ongoing and we are awaiting further information from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which is responsible for the distance-selling logo scheme in the UK. We will provide an update when we have further information.

Will the GPhC voluntary internet pharmacy logo continue?

The GPhC voluntary internet pharmacy logo is unaffected by Brexit and will continue to operate.