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GPhC provides statement to support pharmacists to ‘break down’ large packs of paracetamol

  • Wales
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland

With the ongoing supply issues in obtaining OTC packs of paracetamol, Numark contacted GPhC for guidance that may support pharmacists who are able to obtain larger pack sizes (prescription only medicines). Current legislation does not allow ‘breaking down’ of prescription medicines for retail sale.

A General Pharmaceutical Council spokesperson said:

“Pharmacies may break down larger packs of paracetamol to prepare smaller packs for people, and the public, who need them. The pharmacist and the pharmacy team at the pharmacy’s medicine counter should supply the paracetamol to the member of the public directly, with appropriate labelling and safety information supplied in a clear and understandable way.

“As set out in our Standards the care of patients and the public should be the primary concern of professionals and pharmacy owners and they should not be exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic for financial gain.”

In order to ensure continuity of supply of the larger (POM) packs against prescriptions, contractors should use their professional judgement to ensure the clinical need for supply so not to cause a shortage of the POM packs. Wholesalers are working hard to obtain the OTC packs, so contractors are encouraged to continue to liaise with their wholesalers and order the OTC packs as soon as they are available.

Considerations for Appropriate Labelling:

  1. The name, strength and pharmaceutical form.
  2. Quantity of Medicines supplied.
  3. A special warning that the product must be stored out of sight and reach of children.
  4. The expiry date.
  5. Recommended dosage.
  6. Precautionary warnings as per table below
  7. The name and address of the holder of the Marketing Authorisation.
  8. Marketing Authorisation Number.
  9. Batch Reference.

Precautionary warnings

Adults

Children 12 years or older

Do not take more medicine than the label tells you to. If you do not get better, talk to your doctor

Do not take more medicine than the label tells you to. If you do not get better, talk to your doctor

Do not take anything else containing paracetamol while taking this medicine

Do not give anything else containing paracetamol while giving this medicine

Talk to a doctor at once if you take too much of this medicine, even if you feel well. This is because too much paracetamol can cause delayed, serious liver damage

Talk to a doctor at once if your child takes too much of this medicine, even if they seem well. This is because too much paracetamol can cause delayed, serious liver damage

Other considerations

  • Ensure you supply a copy of the patient information leaflet (PIL) with every supply.
  • Keep a record of the supply (possibly under a ‘OTC’ patient on the PMR).
  • A fair price should be charged.

If you use Numark Assist or ProScript Direct

EMIS Health Community Pharmacy have created custom labels in ProScript Connect that have been deployed to the desktop on your machines in order to assist in labelling these pack downs. They can be found in a “COVID-19 Paracetamol Labels” folder and will contain instructions on how to print these using your label printer.

Please note that you will still need to print labels containing the batch number(s) and expiry date(s), which can be done either by using Free-Format labels or by hand.

Further information can be found on Support Centre.