Research shows majority of pharmacists dispense unlicensed medicines every day

Michael Bolton

A survey has shown 72 per cent of pharmacists dispense unlicensed medicines one to 10 times per day due to shortages.

The survey, carried out by Azure Pharmaceuticals, reveals 98 per cent of pharmacists dispense unlicensed drugs every day.

Some 43 per cent say they dispense them one to five times per day, 29 per cent six to 10 times per day, and 18 per cent 11 to 20 times per day.

8 per cent say they dispense unlicensed drugs over 20 times per day.

124 of these medicines in short supply have no alternative, therefore requiring the prescription of unlicensed medicines or a change in therapy.

Medicines in short supply currently include 344 products.

58 per cent of pharmacists believe the medicine regulator should be responsible for verifying the origins of these products.

Azure Pharmaceuticals managing director, Sandra Gannon, said: "That 47 per cent of pharmacists are uncomfortable with the level of dispensing of unlicensed medicines is very notable.

"They, like patients, need solutions. Over half of pharmacists surveyed want the regulator to be responsible for unlicensed medicines oversight, with 86 per cent wanting the patient leaflets translated into English to prevent medicine errors. These are among the types of measures we need to move on.”