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Re-using named patient drugs as medicines supply

  • Organisations we regulate

The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 underpin dispensing and medicines supply.

Prescription-only medicines (POMs) must only be supplied on prescription to a named person. Once prescribed, the medicines become the property of that named person. The person must not supply that POM to anyone else. Therefore prescribed medicines cannot be used for anyone else.

Coronavirus pressures might make it more difficult for you to make sure people receive timely access to essential prescribed medicines.

You need to act in a way that is pragmatic and safe, and focus on what is in the best interest of your patients and the wider system. Local schemes on medicines re-use may already be in operation to support this.

NHS England and NHS improvement have published a standard operating procedure (SOP) on running a medicines re-use scheme in care homes and hospice settings. This scheme should only be considered where there is an immediate need for the medicine and either:

  • no other stocks are available
  • no suitable alternatives exist for an individual

A risk assessment should be carried out on an individual medicine basis. This SOP sets out the criteria for medicines to be re-used, which must be checked by a registered healthcare professional (this may be done virtually).

You should follow the information in this document. This guidance is applicable in England and for use during the COVID-19 pandemic only.

Last updated:
01 May 2020