Medicine Service

Donating medicines to those affected by war or natural disasters

Donating medicines to those affected by war or natural disasters

Pharmacists will naturally want to help support those affected by war or natural disaster, it is the inherent nature of being a healthcare professional.  Some of our Numark members have been seeking advice from our Information Services team about how they can supply much needed medication and dressings to affected countries. Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to this question as both pharmacies and charities are bound by many laws around the supply of medication and transporting it across borders, particularly since the UK is no longer part of the EU.

Some of the obstacles that pharmacies face are:

  • To supply significant quantities of medication, a supplier must hold a wholesale dealers licence as stated in the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.
  • The Human Medicines Regulation 2012 state that the person receiving the medication must be using it for the purposes of selling or supplying it or administering it or causing it to be administered to one or more human beings.  This means that the person being supplied would have to be another wholesale dealer or a pharmacy or a healthcare professional who would then be administering the product to a patient.

The simplest and most effective way to help support those in need would be to donate money to a charity who are supporting the particular cause you want to help.  As charities will have the resources to support and the right channels to ensure food, water and medicine is delivered safely to those who need it.

The Disasters Emergency Committee brings together 15 leading UK aid charities that co-ordinates raising funds quickly and efficiently at times of crises overseas. Money donated to their appeals will reach the right people to provide immediate humanitarian relief. Their website can be found at

Another way to donate is via the Red Cross:

Exemptions status for NHS prescriptions for refugee or asylum seekers

If an asylum seeker or refugee has a prescription with them they wish to have dispensed, before dispensing, pharmacists should check it originates from an EEA state which the UK is still able to dispense prescriptions from, see guidance below.

Dispensing prescriptions from abroad