GPhC sanction six pharmacies over ‘high volume’ codeine sales


The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) have taken enforcement action against six separate pharmacies following intelligence-led inspections relating to unusually high volumes of sales of codeine linctus.


This action against these six pharmacies has happened since August 2020.


In view of the quantity of codeine linctus that these pharmacies were buying, the GPhC inspection team undertook a series of unannounced inspections. Following these inspections, each of these pharmacies has had conditions put on their registration that the pharmacies must not sell or supply any codeine linctus preparations, with the exception of supplying this medicine against an NHS prescription.


Codeine linctus is classified as a P medicine under the Medicines Act 1968 and the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 which allows it to be sold only under a pharmacist’s supervision, by a pharmacy, without prescription.


The medicine, occasionally used for a dry cough, is considered high risk because of known problems associated with its misuse, abuse or overuse.

Claire Bryce-Smith, Director of Insight, Intelligence and Inspection said:


“Opioids are high-risk medicines. Most pharmacies have appropriate safeguards in place to prevent them from being misused. We have taken robust action against six pharmacies that did not have these safeguards in place.


“We will continue to use the information we receive as intelligence to identify pharmacies supplying opioids inappropriately and will take necessary enforcement action against them in order to protect the general public and ensure they receive safe and effective care.”


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