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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.

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 guidance is for use during the COVID-19 pandemic only.

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. It must be checked by a registered healthcare professional. This may be done virtually. You need to act in a way that is pragmatic and safe. 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.

Last updated:
02 July 2021