By virtue of the Medicines for Human Use (Prescribing by EEA practitioners) Regulations 2008, which come into force on 3 November 2008, pharmacists will be able to sell or supply medicines prescribed by doctors or dentists in EEA states (other than the UK) and Switzerland, subject to certain exceptions.

The introduction of the regulations follows a “reasoned opinion” from the European Commission that the UK’s statutory provisions with regard to dispensing of prescriptions written by non-UK health professionals is contrary to the freedom to provide services under Article 49 of the European Convention. Section 58 of the Medicines Act 1968 previously prevented a pharmacist from supplying a prescription-only medicine that hadn’t been issued by an “appropriate practitioner”. In order to be an “appropriate professional” the relevant health professional had previously needed to be on a specified register within the UK.