Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 191 - Pharmacy regulations [5945/06].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 191 - Pharmacy regulations [5945/06]. (15 Feb 2006)

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191. Mr. Gregory asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the guidelines which exist to ensure that medical prescriptions are secure and cannot be easily forged in view of the huge problem of addiction to prescription drugs, many of which are fraudulently obtained and sold on the streets; if the bar coding of prescriptions, as is the practice in Britain, is being considered. [5945/06]

Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children (Ms Harney): problem of addiction to prescription medicines relates mainly to drugs which are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984. Regulations made under those Acts provide a number of requirements for the security of prescriptions. Article 13 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1988 specifies the form of a medical prescription for certain controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Acts. The prescription shall be in ink or otherwise so as to be indelible and be signed by the person issuing it with his or her usual signature and dated by him or her; be written by the person issuing it in his or her own handwriting; clearly indicate the name, title, address and telephone number of the person issuing it; specify the name and address of the person for whose treatment it is issued; specify the dose to be taken and in the case of a prescription for a total quantity intended to be dispensed by instalments; and contain a direction specifying the amount and intervals at which the instalments may be dispensed. The total quantity to be supplied must be stated in both words and figures. Section 14 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations, 1988 specifies that a person shall not supply a controlled drug on a prescription unless the prescription complies with these provisions.

The Misuse of Drugs (Supervision of Prescription and Supply of Methadone) Regulations 1988 control the prescription and supply of methadone. Recipients of methadone must be registered on a central treatment list and methadone may only be prescribed by specially trained general practitioners. The guidance document entitled Benzodiazepines: Good Practice Guidelines for Clinicians was published in 2002. It provides advice on benzodiazepine prescribing and was issued to all general practitioners. Similar, but less detailed, requirements are laid down for prescriptions for medicinal products other than controlled drugs. The possibility of using barcodes on prescriptions has not been examined in this country. However if such a practice were shown to be successful in other jurisdictions, it would be appropriate to examine the possibility of introducing it in this country. Vol. 614 No. 5 Written Answers Wednesday, 15 February 2006

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