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Sunday 25th August 2019

Tighter rules issued on prescribing

1st February 2013

The General Medical Council (GMC) has issued an update to its guidance concerning the prescription of unlicensed medication.


GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said he hoped doctors would find the update "useful" and added: "This new guidance tightens the current rules on prescribing and addresses the challenges doctors face in this complex area." 

In Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices the GMC has banned remote prescribing of cosmetic fillers and injectable substances such as Botox.

The updated guidance, which will take effect from 25 February, said: "You should usually prescribe licensed medicines in accordance with the terms of their licence. However, you may prescribe unlicensed medicines where, on the basis of an assessment of the individual patient, you conclude, for medical reasons, that it is necessary to do so to meet the specific needs of the patient." 

The guidance pays close attention to the rules concerning the prescription of controlled medication: "You must not prescribe a controlled medicine for yourself or someone close to you unless no other person with the legal right to prescribe is available to assess and prescribe without a delay which would put your, or the patient’s, life or health at risk or cause unacceptable pain or distress – and the treatment is immediately necessary to save a life, avoid serious deterioration in health, or alleviate otherwise uncontrollable pain or distress." 

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