§ Mr. Ingram
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what regulations apply to the issuing of out-of-date medicines by pharmacists.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
Expiry dates, which indicate a shelf-life based on manufacturers' stability data, are required to be included on the manufacturers' label of a medicinal product by the Medicines (Labelling) Regulations 1976, as amended. Pharmacists do not dispense medicines past their expiry date other than in very exceptional circumstances, such as in an emergency.
While there are no specific regulations governing the supply by pharmacists of medicines past their expiry date, the dispensing of expired stock runs contrary to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's code of ethics, and disciplinary proceedings may be taken against pharmacists who are found to be in breach of the code.
The dispensing of substandard medicines is a breach of the pharmacist's terms of service under the National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 1992.