Press Release

The Minister for Health & Children commences the outstanding sections of the Pharmacy Act 2007 dealing with Complaints, Inquires and Discipline

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, today ( 28th July 2009) announced the commencement of the outstanding Sections of the Pharmacy Act 2007 to provide for the introduction of a Complaints, Inquires and Discipline regime for pharmacists and pharmacy businesses. Also included are Sections 63 and 64 of the Act, which relate to the prohibition of certain economic relationships between pharmacists or pharmacies and medical practitioners, or medical practices.

The Pharmacy Act 2007 is an essential piece of legislation that provides for the health, safety and welfare of patients and the public. The Act enables pharmacists to practise in a regulated, controlled and safe environment and in a manner which will ensure the provision of high-quality service, in the context of increasingly complex and evolving care and therapeutic regimens for patients. It also requires pharmacy owners to demonstrate responsible and accountable practices, whilst providing the highest level of patient care and service. The Act, now fully enacted, puts in place a modern fitness to practice structure aimed at safeguarding the public, and members of the profession in respect of their professional conduct.

The Act has been commenced on a staged basis. In May 2007, the Minister for Health and Children commenced the first stage when she dissolved the old Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (established in 1875), established the new Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland and appointed its Council. In November 2008, the second stage of the Act commenced sections of the Act dealing with the registration of pharmacists and pharmacy businesses, the operation of such businesses (in respect of the sourcing, sale, supply, storage and keeping of records in respect of medicinal products), and inspection and investigation powers.

The two Commencement Orders, signed by the Minister, complete the third, and final, stage of implementation. This stage provides for the introduction of a Complaints, Inquires and Discipline regime for pharmacists and pharmacy businesses. This stage also includes Sections 63 and 64 of the Act, which relate to the prohibition of certain economic relationships between pharmacists, or pharmacies and medical practitioners, or medical practices.

The first Commencement Order (Pharmacy Act 2007 (Commencement) Order 2009) appoints the 1st of August 2009 as the day when the outstanding Sections of the Act will come into operation.

The second Commencement Order (Pharmacy Act 2007 (Section 64(9)) Order 2009) concerns the application of Sections 63 and 64 to registered retail pharmacy businesses, or medical practices, which were in existence immediately before the passing of the Act. The Minister has specified in the Order that the date from which the Section 64(9) of the Act will come into effect is 1st May 2010.