Glossary of terms

Body Corporate A body corporate includes entities and organisations such as limited companies: a Limited (Ltd) company, Public Limited Companies (PLC); a Trust; a Co-operative; and a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).

Herbal medicines These are defined in section 132 of the Medicines Act 1968 and the Medicines (Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products for Human Use) Regulations 2005. These are medicines which have been produced by subjecting plants to a process which may include drying, crushing and mixing with other herbal products, inert substances or water. Herbal medicines are classed as medicinal products and can be classed as GSL, P or POM.

Homeopathic medicines These are defined in section 7 of the Medicines Act 1968 (and Article 1 of the 2001/83 EC Directive).  These are medicines which have been produced from a variety of different substances in accordance with the homeopathic manufacturing procedure described in official reference sources called pharmacopoeias. Homeopathic medicines are classed as medicinal products and can be classed as GSL, P or POM.

General Sale List (GSL) medicines The definition can be found in Section 51 of the Medicines Act 1968 and only applies to medicines for human use. This is a group of medicines which can be sold in registered pharmacies, (without the supervision of a pharmacist), and from other retail outlets, (such as supermarkets and petrol stations), that can “close so as to exclude the public”. Medicines can be classed as GSL either because of their marketing authorisation (product licence) or because they are listed in legislation in the Medicines (Products other than Veterinary Drugs)(General Sale List)Order 1984.

Medicines for animal use Certain classes of licensed animal products can be sold from a registered pharmacy to members of the public without the need for a prescription from a vet. Other classes of licensed animal products need a prescription to lawfully supply them. Registered pharmacies can also supply medicines for animals against prescriptions (written by vets).

MHRA The body responsible for human medicines legislation, (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, MHRA) is currently carrying out an exercise to consolidate and review relevant legislation.

 

A person lawfully conducting a retail pharmacy business The definition can be found in Section 69 of the Medicines Act 1968. This is a person who is carrying on a retail pharmacy business, which meets all the necessary legal requirements. The person can be:

  • an individual pharmacist
  • a partnership of pharmacists (in England and Wales all the partners must be pharmacists; in Scotland only one partner needs to be a pharmacist)
  • a body corporate
  • under certain conditions a representative (for example following death or bankruptcy of an individual pharmacist who carries on a pharmacy business)

Pharmacy (P) medicines The definition can be found in Article 1 of the Medicines (Pharmacy and General Sale – Exemption) Order 1980 and only applies to medicines for human use. These are medicines that can only be sold or supplied from registered pharmacies by, or under the supervision of, a pharmacist. There are exceptions to this restriction which allow hospitals, doctors, dentists and some others to also supply P medicines under certain conditions.

Prescription Only Medicines (POMs) The definition can be found in Article 3 of the Prescription Only Medicines (Human Use) Order 1997 and only applies to medicines for human use. These are medicines that can only be sold or supplied from registered pharmacies under the supervision of a pharmacist against a prescription. There are exceptions to this restriction which allow hospitals, doctors, dentists and some others to also supply POMs under certain conditions. Medicines can be classed as POM either because of their marketing authorisation (product licence) or because they are listed in legislation in the Prescription Only Medicines (Human Use) Order 1997.

The Register The definition can be found in Articles 3 and 19 of the Pharmacy Order 2010. The Register which is maintained by the GPhC consists of a list of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and registered pharmacy premises. The Register has a public facing search facility and members of the public, and others, can search for registered pharmacy premises, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on our website at www.pharmacyregulation.org .

Responsible pharmacist The definition can be found in Sections 70, 71 and 72A of the Medicines Act 1968. This is the pharmacist who is appointed and is in charge of the registered pharmacy during a specified time. They are responsible for the safe and effective running of the pharmacy.

 

Retail pharmacy business The definition can be found in Section 132 of the Medicines Act 1968. It is a business which consists of or includes the retail sale of POM or P medicines.

Retail sale (and circumstances corresponding to retail sale) The definitions can be found in Section 131 of the Medicines Act 1968. This means selling  General Sale List or pharmacy  medicines and supplying medicines against a (private or NHS) prescription.

Superintendent pharmacist The requirements for meeting this definition can be found in Section 71 of the Medicines Act 1968. This is a pharmacist who is appointed to act on behalf of a body corporate which wishes to conduct a retail pharmacy business.

The supply of medicines in the course of the business of the hospital The definition can be found in Section 55 of the Medicines Act 1968. The supply of POMs, (and P medicines), is restricted to being supplied from registered pharmacies only. There is an exemption from this restriction which allows medicines to be supplied by a hospital, or health centre, for the purpose of being administered in accordance with the directions of a doctor or dentist. Supplies that meet this definition include supplies made from the hospital pharmacy department to the hospital’s wards or to the hospital’s inpatients, on its wards, or to the hospital’s out-patients.

Wholesale of medicines The definition can be found in Sections 8 and 131 of the Medicines Act 1968. This is the supply of medicines as stock to a separate organisation, or person; it is not supply directly to patients. Supplying by wholesale usually requires a licence from the MHRA, and the people and organisations requesting the stock must be listed in law as being able to obtain this stock. Registered pharmacies can currently carry out a small amount of wholesale supply without the need for a licence. Examples of the wholesale supply of stock includes the supply of stock from a wholesaler to a pharmacy and the supply of stock from a registered pharmacy to a doctor who will administer the medicines during their professional practice.

 

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