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New Restrictions for Puberty Blocking Drugs

The Government has introduced emergency restrictions on the use of gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues used to suppress puberty as part of treating gender incongruence or gender dysphoria in children and young people who are under 18 years of age. 

These restrictions apply to private prescriptions from 3rd June 2024 and it will become a criminal offence for a doctor, pharmacist, or any other individual in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) to sell or supply these drugs to patients under the age of 18 except in certain circumstances.

Prescriptions from non-UK registered prescribers (EEA/Switzerland prescriptions)

  • Pharmacies will no longer be able to dispense new private prescriptions, dated on or after 3 June 2024 for GnRH analogues from the EEA or Switzerland for those under 18 years old.
  • Pharmacies will continue to be able to supply GnRH analogues to those aged 18 or over against prescriptions from prescribers registered in an EEA country or Switzerland only where the pharmacy is able to verify the age of the patient by seeing their UK birth certificate or a current national identity document.

Private prescriptions from UK registered prescribers

  • Pharmacies will continue to be able to supply GnRH analogues against private prescriptions by UK registered prescribers for those aged 18 or over provided that it is either annotated “SLS” by the prescriber, or the pharmacy is able to verify the age of the patient by seeing their UK birth certificate or a current national identity document. 
  • Pharmacies will continue to be able to supply GnRH analogues against private prescriptions by UK registered prescribers for those under 18 years of age that fulfils the following criteria:
    • The prescription was dated prior to 3rd June 2024; or
    • It is a repeat prescription but only when the initial prescription was written in the six months prior to 3rd June 2024.
    • There are also requirements for prescriptions issued from 3rd June 2024 to be marked with the person’s age, annotated by the prescriber with “SLS”, and in the case of prescriptions issued before that date, for the person to provide proof of identity and age.
    • The prescription is for a purpose other than the treatment of gender incongruence or gender dysphoria, or for gender incongruence/dysphoria if the patient started treatment for gender incongruence/dysphoria before 3rd June 2024.

All NHS prescriptions and directions are outside of this ban

 

Further NHS Guidance

In England, the government has also introduced indefinite restrictions to the prescribing of these medicines within NHS primary care in England, in line with NHS guidelines. These regulations will come into force on 26th June 2024. 

Similar regulations are not currently in place for Scotland and Wales, however they are likely to be introduced at a later date.