General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in Great Britain. Further information about about the role and purpose of the GPhC can be found on their website.

The GPhC has its own inspectorate in order to undertake two main roles:

  1. Inspection visits – To inspect registered pharmacy premises in order to monitor and secure compliance with relevant legal requirements and professional standards.
  2. Investigations – To investigate complaints and allegations involving registered pharmacists or registered pharmacy technicians. 


General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
Patient safety concerns relating to online prescribing services       

There are patient safety concerns relating to pharmacies dispensing medicines prescribed by EEA prescribers working alone or for online prescribing services.

We are doing this as part of our more anticipatory, proportionate and tailored approach to regulation, so you are alerted to the issues we have found and can play an important role in helping drive improvements in the quality of pharmacy services.

Action to take

Pharmacy owners, superintendent pharmacists and pharmacists must make sure that they are meeting our standards and following our guidance on providing pharmacy services at a distance, including on the internet, if they are involved in any online pharmacy services.

We recognise that many of your members will be already doing so, but there is a significant minority of pharmacies and pharmacy professionals who are not meeting our standards and following our guidance at all times. These pharmacies and pharmacy professionals could face enforcement actions and sanctions against their registration.

It is important to emphasise that it is not enough to meet legal requirements only relating to EEA prescriptions. Pharmacy professionals are responsible for ensuring all medicines they supply are clinically appropriate for patients.

Please ask your members to review the guidance on providing pharmacy services at a distance now and ensure that the safeguards outlined in the guidance are in place, including particular safeguards that are necessary when working with a prescriber and/or prescribing service based outside the UK.

We publish inspection reports and details of enforcement action we have taken against pharmacies on our inspections website.

There are also further resources available to help pharmacy owners and pharmacists understand what is expected when supplying medicines online, including this article in Regulate.