Pharmacists Granted New Powers to Extend Prescriptions

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In a significant development, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has announced that new measures, allowing pharmacists to extend prescriptions, will be implemented in the coming year. This decision marks the initial recommendation of an expert taskforce formed to address this issue. Pharmacists Granted New Powers to Extend Prescriptions

The enhanced role for pharmacists is expected to enhance patient care and access to medications. Starting from March 1, 2023, pharmacists will have the authority to extend prescriptions for patients for a maximum period of 12 months when deemed appropriate. They will also have the ability to decline a patient’s request for a prescription extension after a thorough assessment.

It’s important to note that certain medications will not be eligible for prescription extension under this new system.

This move is expected to offer greater flexibility to patients who will no longer need to visit a GP solely for a repeat prescription. Additionally, it will help alleviate the workload on general practitioners.

This development represents the first recommendation made by the expert taskforce, which was established earlier this year to examine the role of pharmacists.

Susan O’Dwyer, the Head of Professional Services with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), emphasized that the implementation of these new measures will require additional resources to support pharmacists. She noted that conducting more “structured consultations” will necessitate a change in practice for pharmacists.

Ms. O’Dwyer also highlighted the potential benefits of these changes, including providing patients with more choices, flexibility, and hopefully improved care within the local community.

Regarding concerns about unlicensed medications mentioned in an Irish Times report, she explained that in some cases, unlicensed drugs may need to be dispensed when licensed drugs are in short supply. She emphasized that such dispensation will only occur when both the pharmacist and the patient are in agreement, ensuring patient safety and care. Pharmacists Granted New Powers to Extend Prescriptions

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