In most of Western Europe prescribed medicines, accompanied by patient information leaflets, are dispensed by pharmacists in packs provided by the manufacturer. Up until now, pharmacists in the UK have usually bought medicines in bulk and then repacked and dispensed them in individually labelled bottles or cartons without leaflets. Over the next three years the patient pack dispensing system (original pack plus patient information) will be introduced in the UK. The new scheme has been devised to allow the UK to meet European legislation on patient information which requires that by December 1998 patients are provided with detailed written information about the drug(s) that is dispensed.1–3 In this article we discuss how the scheme will be introduced and how it will affect patients, pharmacists and doctors.
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