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Performance-enhancing prescriptions banned by GMC

Performance-enhancing prescriptions banned by GMC

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New guidance on how to safely prescribe medicine has been issued by the General Medical Council (GMC) today (31 January 2013). 

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said he hopes the guidance will be found “useful”. 

He said: “We hope the guidance makes clear what is expected from doctors so patients receive the best possible treatment and care.

“Safe prescribing is at the heart of good medicine and it a skill that doctors must develop and keep up to date throughout their careers.”

The new guidance tightens the current rules on prescribing, and Dickson hopes it will address the challenges doctors face “in this complex area”.

The GMC has called on doctors who suspect an athlete’s performance is “improperly” enhanced to raise concerns in the public interest. 

Under the new guidance, doctors must not prescribe performance-enhancing drugs or treatments to athletes. 

Doctors are banned from prescribing injectable drugs like Botox over the phone, email or video link, a move which came into force in July last year. 

Good Practice in Prescribing and Managing Medicines and Devices has also updated current advice to include the use of unlicensed medicines. 

According to the guidance although doctors should usually prescribe within the terms of their licence, when it is “necessary” they can use unlicensed medicines. 

Unlicensed medicines are commonly used in areas such as paediatrics, psychiatry and palliative care. 

The regulator has also reminded doctors that they must report any “adverse” incidents involving drugs, medical devices and artificial joints. 

The guidance, which follows a public consultation in 2011, will come into force on 25 February 2013. 

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