BMA comment on Shipman Inquiry's recommended changes to the regulation of controlled drugs in the community

The BMA broadly welcomes proposals to change the management and regulation of controlled drugs in the latest report from the Shipman Inquiry.

Commenting on the three sets of recommendations in the report, John Grenville, of the BMA GP prescribing sub-committee, said:

"The BMA has been calling for the improved monitoring and audit of prescription drugs for many years and welcomes the proposals to set up an inspectorate to audit controlled drugs from prescription to disposal.

"The Association and the General Medical Council has also actively discouraged practices such as prescribing to friends and family or outside their normal sphere of clinical practice and would be happy to see regulations which restrict these practices."

He added:

"With regards to the proposals to tighten up the supply chain from supplier to the patients, it is important that any new system strikes the right balance between monitoring the movement of controlled drugs and giving quality patient care. Opiate drugs are widely used to ease patient suffering - notably for terminal care of patients with cancer and other illnesses. Patients would be in very severe pain if doctors were unable to give adequate doses of opiates at the appropriate time."

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