Mail order pharmacy is coming to Ireland

The misnamed PSI, our beloved regulator has called for submissions on mail order pharmacy in Ireland.  See here for details.  They have given this the innocent sounding name of “Public Consultation on draft Guidance on the Delivery of Prescription-only Medicines from a Retail Pharmacy Business (Pharmacy)” but make no mistake this is all about mail order pharmacy.  And be under no illusion if this is permitted then it will be a game changer in Irish pharmacy.

The Regulation of Retail Pharmacy Business Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 488 of 2008) specifically makes mail order pharmacy illegal for many good reasons.  But it now seems that some in the PSI, for whatever motivation would like to drive a coach and four through these regulations.  I doubt that any of the community pharmacists (past, present or recently resigned) on the Council would be among those who seek to do so.  To go further I have heard whispers that those pharmacists have been threatened with the Competition Authority when they sought to put a halt to this coach and four.

It’s is a sad day when some of those charged with enforcing the law are threatened with the Competition Authority when they seek to do just that.

I intend to make a submission and to publish it here when I do so.  When this process is complete all of the submissions made will be subject to Freedom of Information.  But I will publish your submissions here if any wish to send them to me.  Submissions should be sent by snail mail to the PSI or by email to

consultation@thePSI.ie

As I said above if this is allowed then community pharmacy in Ireland will be decimated.  Aside from all the patient centred reasons why this is a bad move it will also undermine the economic basis for community pharmacy.  If you are an employee this will drive down salaries even further.  There will be costs for the state as well.  Large amounts of medicines will lead to overdoses, either intentional or otherwise.  Lack of contact with a pharmacist will cause poor patient outcomes.

I intend to ask that my and other submissions should be circulated to all members of Council and not just the PPD Committee who will be drafting a report to the full Council.  To me it is that important that they should hear all the facts and not just a distilled down and sanitized version.  I don’t expect that the Registrar will agree to this.  At the very least I will ask that members of Council be circulated with my request and the reasons for it.

Don’t leave it to others.  And don’t just copy & paste other submissions.  This is the surest way to have them ignored.  Your professional and financial future is at stake.  It’s time to get up off your arse.

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