General Pharmaceutical Council
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the body responsible for the independent regulation of the pharmacy profession within England, Scotland and Wales, responsible for the regulation of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises. It was created, along with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, in September 2010 when the previous Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was split so that representative and regulatory functions of the pharmacy profession could be separated.
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 and the subsequent Pharmacy Order 2010 allowed for regulatory functions of the RPSGB to be transferred to the new pharmacy regulator, the GPhC. The GPhC is therefore responsible for the update and maintenance of the registers of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy premises and pharmacy training premises. These registers can be accessed electronically by any member of the public online at the GPhC's website.
In addition the GPhC states that the Health and Social Care Act 2008 has sufficient provisions to allow for the transfer of regulatory powers from the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland to the GPhC in the future, subject to approval of Northern Ireland Ministers.
The principal functions of the GPhC, as stated within Pharmacy Order 2010 are;
- to establish and maintain a register of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and premises at which a retail pharmacy business is;
- to set and promote standards for the safe and effective practice of pharmacy at registered pharmacies;
- to set standards to which registrants must demonstrate that their fitness to practise is not impaired;
- to promote the safe and effective practice of pharmacy by registrants;
- to set standards and requirements in respect of the education, training, acquisition of experience and continuing professional development that it is necessary for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to achieve in order to be entered in the Register or to receive an annotation in the Register and to maintain competence; and
- to ensure the continued fitness to practise of registrants.
Furthermore, under statute, the GPhC must have the following committees;
- Investigating Committee (considers allegations that a registrant's fitness to practise is impaired, and can refer to the Fitness to Practise Committee for a full inquiry);
- Fitness to Practise Committee (makes decisions in cases where a registrant's fitness to practise may be impaired, for reasons concerning their conduct, professional performance or health); and
- Appeals Committee (considers appeals of decisions relating to applications for registration and registration status).
The Pharmacy Order 2010 requires not only that the GPhC sets acceptable standards of continuing professional development (CPD), but that it ensures that all registrants meet those required standards, and that there are processes in place for various remedial measures, including removal of a registrant from the register if they either fail to meet these standards, or make a false statement in relation to their CPD.
The GPhC is governed by a fourteen member GPhC Council, with equal numbers of lay and registrant members, which is independent from the government, the professionals it regulates and any other interest groups. The GPhC state that to reinforce this independence, all members of the GPhC Council, including the Chair are appointed by the Privy Council, rather than elected.
The first and current Chair of the GPhC Council is Bob Nicholls CBE, a lay member with extensive experience in the National Health Service, who has previously been a lay member of the General Medical Council, among other regulatory appointments.
The GPhC Exam or GPhC Registration Assessment exam was set by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, but since September 2010 has been the responsibility of the GPhC. The examination takes place on two occasions each year: the summer (the last Friday in June) and the autumn (the last Friday in September).
See also 
- Pharmaceutical industry in the United Kingdom
- List of pharmacy organizations in the United Kingdom
- List of schools of pharmacy in the United Kingdom
- British National Formulary
- The Pharmacy Practice Research Trust