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In an effort to serve to encourage best practice in the treatment of patients, a publication providing guidance to facilitate safer prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs, has been launched today (17th October).

The Medical Council and the PSI, the pharmacy regulator, came together in a joint initiative aimed at doctors and pharmacists, entitled ‘Safe Prescribing and Dispensing of Controlled Drugs’.

The first publication from the partnership, a working group was established to examine common areas of concern to safeguard patient and public health outcomes.

The publication was drafted in consultation with doctors and pharmacists, providing a collaborative guide on the changes brought about by the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2017, which came into effect in May this year.

The guidance outlines how those legal provisions and requirements are designed to enable patients to safely access controlled drugs, respecting their substantial potential for abuse and misuse.

Catherine Byrne T.D., Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, commented: “I welcome this guidance document which will complement and support the new Misuse of Drugs regulations which I signed earlier this year.

“It will help prescribers and pharmacists to better understand their obligations under legislation and facilitate safer prescribing and dispensing of controlled drugs, which will ultimately enhance the safe and effective care of patients taking medicines with a potential to cause harm”.

Speaking at the launch of the guidance, Medical Council member Dr Consilia Walsh described the publication as a wonderful resource for the medical community that will assist Medical Council members through recent changes to the misuse of drugs regulations.

PSI President Rory O’Donnell added: “The joint guidance will be a valuable resource for pharmacists and is an example of how doctors and pharmacists can work together to provide continued patient care.

“It is an extremely positive development, with the PSI and the Medical Council working together to support healthcare professionals towards a common aim – ensuring the safe and effective provision of controlled drugs to Irish patients”.