The Supply of Medicines to Sports Teams

The Supply of Medicines to Sports Teams

The Supply of Medicines to Sports Teams

Recent headlines in the media highlighting perceived deficiencies in record keeping regarding the supply of medicines in professional sport would suggest that it would be an appropriate time to review procedures around the supply of medicines in the Club environment.

The Human Medicines Regulations came into force in August 2012 replacing much of the Medicines Act 1968 and they set out a comprehensive regime for the authorisation of medicinal products for human use; for the manufacture, import, distribution, sale and supply of those products.

The effects of the new legislation on the private supply of drugs to team doctors are as follows:

Firstly, the regulations regarding the supply by pharmacies has changed to stipulate that a pharmacy which is privately supplying prescription only drugs to a doctor must obtain a Wholesale Dealers License, unless: “the supply takes place on an occasional basis, the quantity of medicines supplied is small, the supply is made on a not for profit basis, and the supply is not for onward wholesale distribution.” If you are currently obtaining drugs from a pharmacy, check they have a Wholesale Dealer’s License.

Secondly, obtaining drugs from Wholesale Dealers would be the more common route used by Club Doctors in the UK, and while the legislation hasn’t made any significant amendments in this area the recent clarification by the MHRA has shone a light on what might be considered as some of the important areas of concern in the recent DCMS report Combatting Doping in Sport.

“It is a legal requirement for wholesalers to verify that they are supplying to someone who is entitled to receive the medicines. Regulation 249 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 sets out that a wholesaler can only supply a prescription only medicine to a person who falls within a class specified in Schedule 22 of those Regulation. In the case of doctors, we have taken the approach that another health care professional can be authorised to place an order on the doctor’s behalf. However, for each supply the order needs to be signed by the doctor in question in order for the wholesaler to ensure that the supply is made to the doctor as required under the legislation.” Anne Ryan – MHRA Policy Division

It is my understanding through my experience of 20 years working as a pharmacist in the field of sports medicine that adherence to the MHRA’s statement of good practice has been not been universally adopted.

While the MHRA has a programme of inspections of Wholesale Dealers, historically they haven’t drilled down too deeply into the area of procedures around the supply of medicines to Team Doctors, potentially resulting in a laxity in addressing processes in this area.

Club medical departments must recognise that it is essential to have systems in place to ensure good governance with regards to obtaining, storing and supplying drugs to the athletes in their care, and for the protection of their professional integrity.

Roni Lennon Bsc

Lead Pharmacist at Vivomed

For Doctors working in sport and wish to order their prescription on medications (POM’s) and all other medical consumables via Vivomed’s secure online portal WebMeds, please sign up here:

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