In 2004 new legislation meant the UK had to change some drug names to align with the EU to avoid confusion. British Approved Names (BANs) were replaced with recommended International Non-proprietary Names (rINNs). Now if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, drug names here will go back to their original BANs. The MHRA has advised pharmacists to change dispensing labels by hand to comply with the impending legislation, until the pharmacy PMR system is updated.
One pharmacist in Dorset said: “This is so stupid, there really is no point to this. It’s going to cause so many problems. We’ve got FMD, loads of other things to contend with and now we have to manually change labels. The world really has gone mad. They are having a laugh.” Yet another pharmacist in Yorkshire said: “This is about taking back control of our drugs, it’s about time. These new fancy names, yes they’ve been around for 15 years, are a right pain as they are trickier to spell and even trickier to say. I wasn’t pleased when they changed, so I’ll be delighted to see the back of them. In some cases I have steadfastly refused to use the new name, so for me it’s always been ‘bendrofluazide’. I feel I’ve won a victory here and it’s great to have some positive news for pharmacy for once. If we’re crashing out of Europe then this type of benefit and having bendy bananas means it was all worthwhile.”
“If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, drug names here will go back to their original BANs.“
Flora Pilo, a Government spokesperson, said: “We expect the technical issues to be resolved in the next few months and pharmacists will need to comply with this legislation. It should be a simple process to score out a couple of letters here and there and maybe add one when required. We don’t anticipate this being a problem for pharmacists.”