Closed petition To allow non-prescribed storage of Salbutamol Inhalers in Commercial Kitchens
In 2014 the Human Medicines Act was amended so that schools could keep emergency stocks of salbutamol inhalers without prescription. Asthma is increasing in the UK and we believe that adult sufferers of Asthma working in high-risk commercial kitchens should have similar life-saving support.
In 2020 Chef Lauren Reid tragically suffered an Asthma attack whilst at work. That day Lauren did not have her inhaler with her and days later she sadly passed away. If an Emergency Asthma kit had been on site, she may still have been with us now.
If high-risk commercial kitchens were allowed the same rights as schools to support their employees in an emergency situation we believe that Lauren will not have died in vain.
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This response was given on 25 August 2021
Asthma inhalers are a mainstay of treatment and access to prescribed inhalers can save lives. The Licensing Authority can consider evidence to support a specific exemption to supply controls.
Read the response in full
Firstly, we are extremely saddened to hear of the patient who tragically died due to an asthma attack at work. Asthma inhalers are a mainstay of treatment and ready access to a patient’s prescribed inhaler can save lives in an emergency.
The Human Medicines Regulations controls the safe sale and supply of medicines in the UK. Some medicines are classified as prescription only medicines because they could result in harm if used without medical supervisions even if used correctly or they are frequently used incorrectly and may cause harm. Prescription only medicines such as asthma inhalers can only be exempt from prescription control, which includes restrictions on who can hold such medicines, in certain specific circumstances. To introduce an exemption in the legislation, for example for inhalers to be held in a commercial kitchen for emergency use, evidence would need to be gathered to support the need for the change, to show that the medicine could be safely handled and used in the proposed emergency circumstances and that risks identified have been satisfactorily mitigated. Any interested party can submit this information.
If after taking advice from the Commission on Human Medicines, the Licensing Authority considers that the benefit of the change outweighs the risks then a public consultation on the exemption would be taken forward. Based on feedback received from the consultation, a final decision would be made on whether or not to amend the legislation. If so it would need to be underpinned by guidance for all stakeholders and interested parties to ensure that the necessary safeguards were in place to implement the change safely and to ensure that it can be implemented effectively to meet the proposed need. .
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency can offer advice to interested parties on the type of information that would be needed to support a change.
Department of Health and Social Care