Archive 2015

PSI Welcomes New Medicines Legislation

October 15, 2015

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), the pharmacy regulator, has today welcomed new legislation introduced by the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD allowing trained pharmacists and trained members of the public to administer life-saving rescue medicines. It also provides for a broader range of vaccines to be made available to the public from pharmacies.

The Minister for Health has changed existing rules to make certain medicines, such as adrenaline auto-injectors (epipens), glucagon, salbutamol and naloxone, available to be administered to patients without a prescription in pharmacies in emergency situations. These rules do not diminish the importance of people continuing to carry the medicines that they need to manage their own health needs.

The new legislation also facilitates the expanding role of pharmacy in Ireland that will allow pharmacists to supply and administer the shingles and pneumococcal vaccines in line with international best practice. It is expected that the new vaccine service, from pharmacies wishing to deliver these vaccines, will roll out in 2016. These vaccines are currently only available from a GP or hospital.

“The new ‘emergency medicines’ legislation focuses on life-saving measures and ensuring greater patient benefit. It also makes use of pharmacists’ ongoing education and expertise to support the health service with the inclusion of two additional vaccines that pharmacists may administer,” said Marita Kinsella, PSI CEO. “The PSI Council met today to approve specific guidance for pharmacists on the sale and supply of naloxone and adrenaline, which will support them in continuing to exercise their professional knowledge and judgement to respond appropriately to a patient request for an emergency supply of a medicine.”

The PSI has also approved the initial accreditation standards for pharmacist training on the diagnosis and treatment of anaphylaxis and the supply and administration of adrenaline, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of narcotic overdose relating to the supply and administration of naloxone. It is expected that these courses will be available to pharmacists early in 2016.

Pharmacists also have a role to play in making available for appropriate use those medicines that may now be supplied to trained non-medical persons within organisations, to be held for use in cases of emergency and severe distress.

The development of training for pharmacists on the provision of Pneumococcal and Herpes Zoster Vaccines (shingles) is also underway and pharmacists will be updated on the availability of training in due course.

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