Under the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, a number of exemptions apply which allow registered optometrists, in the course of their professional practice, to sell or supply all General Sale List (GSL) and pharmacy (P) medicines to a patient. In addition, provided that it is in the course of their professional practice and in emergency optometrists may sell or supply certain Prescription only Medicines (POMs) which are not for parenteral administration. The POMs to which this exemption applies may also be sold or supplied by a person lawfully conducting a retail pharmacy business on the presentation of an order signed by a registered optometrist (‘signed order’).
Additional supply optometrists, who have undergone additional training and are accredited by the GOC as an additional supply optometrist, are able to sell, supply or write an order for an extended range of medicines.
Independent prescribers are able to prescribe privately and, where suitable arrangements have been made, write an NHS prescription. Accreditation for independent prescribing involves a course of further training approved by the GOC followed by the College of Optometrists’ CFA for specialist qualifications in therapeutics (independent prescribing). Independent prescriber specialist registrants will also be accredited as supplementary prescribers and to supply drugs as additional supply optometrists.
Further information on the use and supply of drugs in optometric practice is available on the College of Optometrists website.