The Pharmacy Act 2007 established the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) and the functions of the Society are set out in the Act. The functions of the PSI are carried out on its behalf by the Council of the Society.
Section 30 of the Pharmacy Act 2007 provides for an exception to the general provision in the Act which requires the sale and supply of medicines at a pharmacy to be conducted under the personal supervision of a registered pharmacist, and specifies that no offence is committed where a registered pharmaceutical assistant “acts on behalf of a registered pharmacist during the temporary absence of the registered pharmacist”.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2019 were developed by the PSI in accordance with Section 30 of the Pharmacy Act 2007, which also permits the Council to make rules as to:
What may or may not be done by a registered pharmaceutical assistant when acting on behalf of a registered pharmacist; and
What constitutes the temporary absence of a registered pharmacist.
On 08 March 2019, the PSI submitted the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (Temporary Absence of Pharmacist from Pharmacy) Rules 2019 to me for my consent, in accordance with the requirements of the Pharmacy Act 2007. These were accompanied by a lengthy submission detailing the PSI’s rationale for the drafting of the Rules.
Under the Pharmacy Act 2007, my role in relation to this process is limited to the consideration of any such Rules once submitted for my consent.
Rules approved by the Minister under Section 30 are required, under Section 76 of the Act, to be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. Section 76 also sets out how the Oireachtas may proceed in relation to the approved Rules.
Matters to be brought before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health are for the Committee to determine.