Procurement & supply

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has drawn up professional guidance to support pharmacy teams in the procurement and supply of ‘Specials’97.

Five principles for the procurement and supply of ‘Specials’


1. Establish the optimal treatment for the patient

All treatment options are evaluated. Prescribers and pharmacists work together to ensure that ‘Specials’ are only supplied when the patient has a special clinical need that cannot be met by an available licensed medicine (this special clinical need does not include reasons of cost, convenience or operational need).

2. Understand the patient’s experience and make a shared decision

The patient’s needs, values and preferences are discussed to ensure that the implications and practicalities of supplying and using ‘Specials’ are understood, and that patients (or carers) are supported to adhere to their medicines.

3. Identify a preparation and a supplier

When procuring and supplying a ‘Special’, pharmacists ensure that patients receive medicine that is of appropriate quality, is appropriate for the patient’s condition and personal circumstances, with minimal clinical risk.

4. Monitor the patient and review the need for a ‘Special’

The appropriateness of continued prescribing of a ‘Special’ is reviewed to ensure that it remains the best option and ongoing supply is justified by the patient’s continued special clinical need.

5. Ensure effective governance is in place

Governance arrangements are in place to support the safe and effective procurement and supply of ‘Specials’ in order to provide consistently safe and effective ‘Specials’ to treat patients.