Medical Specialists® Pharmacy ahead of Schedule to Comply with Falsified Medicines Directive
5th February 2019
When you require a safe and fully-registered online Pharmacy that really cares for its patients, you can simply look no further than Medical Specialists®. Operating online for almost 20 years, the company has always been at the forefront of innovation, efficiency and most importantly – putting their patients first. This is immediately obvious when accessing the Pharmacy’s website – and seeing the NPA and GPhC logos, sure fire signs you are dealing with a legitimate online Pharmacy. This is particularly crucial in the modern day when search engines such as Google are still showing up plenty of dangerous and illicit companies looking out for money, and not your health. Also visible on the Medical Specialists® website is the EU common logo – mandatory for online pharmacies/retailers in EU countries as one of the measures to fight against falsified medicines. The logo vouches for the authenticity of that website and guarantees the safety of the products being sold on that site. Another EU-led initiative to cut down on the supply of counterfeit medication in the supply chain is the much debated Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), due to start in less than one month’s time on 9 February 2019. Although some Pharmacists have spoken up in the media about their displeasure at the new legislation – especially with the impending Brexit causing so much uncertainty for all industries – Medical Specialists® are certainly on board! Joining together with the NPA-backed company FMD I.T. Limited, Medical Specialists® worked to create a customised standalone solution to comply with FMD, FMD Connect, and have already updated their Pharmacy Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), deciding to get ahead of schedule and not wait around until 9 February before getting to work. Managing Director David Bailey commented: “FMD Connect is excellent and ideal for our Pharmacy’s needs. We worked to secure the software in place well ahead of February’s deadline so we could run tests and train staff sufficiently in advance. Anything that increases patient safety is a plus in our eyes”. The formulation of FMD first began on 1 July 2011, when the European Commission published the Falsified Medicines Directive (Directive 2011/62/EU), which introduced stricter rules to try and prevent falsified medicines from entering the legal supply chain. Some would argue the FMD is long overdue and in 2011 alone, EU customs seized 27.4 million doses of falsified medicines at EU borders, according to the UK medicines verification organisation SecurMed UK. In layman’s terms, the FMD is a number of steps taken as part of anti-counterfeiting measures, which will see pharmacists and other authorised pharmacy staff scanning packs of medication before they are dispensed in order to verify their authenticity. These packs of medication will then have to be marked as decommissioned by changing the product from ‘active’ to ‘inactive – dispensed’. Although drug manufacturers will have some leeway initially with the new legislation, the aim eventually will be to have all medicines bearing a unique identifier encoded within a 2D barcode. This will enable identification and authentication of individual packs. In addition, there will be an anti-tampering device (ATD) to verify whether products have been tampered with. This will require both a visual check and a touch-check of the medicine pack. The status check of all products will be confirmed via the national medicines verification system (NMVS), which will inform end-users if the product has been recalled, withdrawn, stolen or tampered with. Pharmacists and other authorised staff will also have to make sure they are using a 2D-compatible scanner on each pack of medicine before it goes to the patient. With Brexit a little over two months away, it remains to be seen what a potential ‘No Deal’ Brexit will mean for FMD and Pharmacy in general. However, it seems there will certainly be something in place going forward to verify medicines in a similar way and with FMD arriving before Brexit, Medical Specialists® have gotten on board now, rather than later. What all this means in a nutshell is that you should rest assure dealing with Medical Specialists® means you are dealing with a safe and secure online pharmacy that looks after its patients. An online pharmacy that will never send you cheaply made, dangerous and counterfeit medication that puts your life at risk, but puts it patients first.