The Home Office has laid the foundations for COVID-19 emergency legislation to enable supply of controlled drugs.
The legislation will allow prescribers to vary the dispensing frequency of an instalment prescription, including for patients on courses of take-home Opioid Substitution Therapy. The proviso is that this legislation is used only in limited circumstances following an announcement by the Secretary of State and under conditions specified by the local health service.
Service providers should try to ensure that such patients have lock-boxes to store medicines and are provided with take-home naloxone. There should also be regular contact with the prescriber or prescribing service.
The legislation also ensures that pharmacists vary the frequency of dispensing an instalment prescription only after consultation with a prescriber.
The aim is for health guidance to be aligned across the devolved UK health administrations.