Recent changes in medicines legislation that affect optometrists

1 February 2006
Volume 07, Issue 1

A summary of changes to medicines legislation and their implications.


The rules governing the use and supply of medicines in the UK are laid down in the Medicines Act (1968). Optometrists have traditionally been granted exemptions from the general rules laid down in the Act to allow them to use certain prescription-only medicines (POMs) in the course of their professional practice and in particular circumstances to supply POMs to their patients. The list of drugs to which exemptions apply has changed little in the years since the establishment of the Medicines Act; however, in 2005 significant changes to medicines legislation occurred. These changes included: 

  • an update to the list of POMs available to all registered optometrists
  • a relaxation of the rules governing the supply of pharmacy (P) and general sales list (GSL) medicines by optometrists 
  • the establishment of a list of further POMs that can be used and supplied by optometrists who have completed extended training.

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