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EU Pharmacy 3 Year Rule to be Scrapped
By the end of this month the restriction that prevents pharmacists who qualified in the EU from being a pharmacist in charge of a newly established pharmacy in the UK is set to be scrapped.
The current restriction has come about because of UK interpretation of the European Commission Directive 85/433/EEC (Article 2(2)), which permits EU countries not to grant automatic recognition to foreign pharmacy qualifications for the purposes of ownership, management or supervision of a pharmacy that has been in operation for less than three years.
The rule was seen as having a detrimental effect on patient services, individual pharmacists and employers and most respondents to a Department of Health (DoH) consultation on the "three-year rule" were in favour of abolishing it.
Examples of where the rule has had a negative effect include a pharmacy relocation that resulted in a long-standing employee having to transfer to a pharmacy in a different town to retain employment, and a chief pharmacist unable to take on the role of responsible pharmacist in a hospital's main dispensary because it had been registered for less than three years.
A document from the European Commission, seen by The Journal, states that the Government is committed to repeal the restrictions by the end of June 2011. However, the DoH was not prepared to commit to a date of implementation.