On the 6th April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a temporary Community Pharmacy Emergency Supply during a Pandemic Service was introduced.
This service was provided under Regulation 226 of HMR1 2012 which relates to the emergency supply of medicines during a pandemic.
This service ensured that patients could access an urgent supply of their regular
prescription medicines where they were unable to obtain a prescription and it ensured that there was equity of access to medicines, irrespective of that patient’s ability to pay the costs of any medicine(s) received. Approximately 9,500 items have been supplied each month, via this service, to patients in Northern Ireland.
As we move out of the current phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a requirement to commission a “routine” Community Pharmacy Emergency Supply Service. This “routine” service is considered a core pharmaceutical service. Therefore, every community pharmacy in Northern Ireland must offer and participate (in the service), to ensure that all communities have equity of access to this important service.
This core pharmaceutical service will be provided under Regulation 2252 of Human Medicines Regulations (HMR) 2012: Emergency Supply at the Request of a Patient.
The legislation governing the emergency supply of medicines, specifically relates to the emergency supply of prescription only medicines (POMs). However it is within the scope of this service to supply, where appropriate, pharmacy only (P) medicines and general sales list (GSL) medicines, to patients who normally receive these medicines via a repeat prescription from their GP practice.