Pharmacies - Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect from a pharmacy?
Pharmacists are highly trained, qualified professionals with an expert understanding of medications. In addition to dispensing prescribed medication, they can provide free, expert advice on medicines and related subjects. Some pharmacies also provide a range of other services; you can pick up a leaflet from the pharmacy which explains what services are available.

What is a Medicines Use Review (MUR)?
If you take a regular or repeat medication your pharmacist may be able to offer you a Medicines Use Review, or MUR. Through an MUR your pharmacist will make sure that you are getting the best possible benefits from your medicines.  Most pharmacists can offer an MUR, but this will usually depend on whether their premises have the space for a private consulting area.

More information on the MUR can be found in the booklet Medicines Use Review: Understand your medicines.

Will I have to pay for my prescription?
Since the 1st of April 2007 pharmacies in Wales have stopped charging for dispensing your prescription as long as it was written by a GP in Wales. From the same date, prescription pre-payment certificates were no longer available for Welsh patients.

Can I visit a pharmacist with a sore throat?

You can now visit some pharmacies in Wales if you have a sore throat. Click here for further information.

I live in Wales close to the border but my GP is in England where prescriptions cost more. Will I need to pay for my prescriptions?
Since 1st August 2006 qualifying patients (ie those living in Wales but registered with a GP practice in England) have been able to apply to their Shared Services Partnership for an entitlement card. Cardholders are able to get their prescription dispensed for free providing they take it to a Welsh pharmacy to get it dispensed.

Where can I get my prescription dispensed at weekends?
Most pharmacies are open for all or part of Saturday, but usually participate in rota arrangements to cover Sundays, Bank Holidays and evenings. Your local pharmacy will usually have a notice in their window directing you to those pharmacies available during these periods, and most local newspapers will carry details of pharmacy rotas for the area.

You can also use our Pharmacy Search to find out which pharmacies in your area are usually open outside normal hours.

What if I run out of prescribed medication and the GP surgery is closed?

If you run out of your prescribed repeat medication and your GP surgery is closed (e.g. Monday to Friday 6.30pm to 8.00am, Saturday, Sunday, and Bank Holidays), then you can visit some pharmacies in Wales for an Emergency Medicines Supply Service free of charge.  Some Pharmacies are commissioned to provide an Emergency Medicines Supply Service for patients who have run out of their medication free of charge (subject to conditions) when their GP is closed.  The service is only for patients who have an immediate need and cannot wait until their GP Practice reopens and availability depends on which Health Board area you live in. Patients will need to show evidence to the Pharmacist that they have previously been prescribed the medication e.g. empty packet / container with name label.  It is important that:

  • You attend in person - you cannot send a representative to the pharmacy
  • You must be able to provide proof that you are on the medication requested, e.g. containers, repeat prescription slip
  • You contact the pharmacy to make sure that this service and your medication is available.

Pharmacies not commissioned to provide the service free of charge can still provide an emergency supply but patients will be charged for this and refunded on receipt of a prescription for the medication supplied.  Please note:

  • This provision is not available on the NHS therefore a charge may be made for the cost of the medicine and the dispensing service especially if you are not a regular patient of that pharmacy.  The majority of pharmacies will often refund monies paid when a prescription is handed back into the pharmacy to cover the item dispensed but there is no obligation on them to do this as this is not an NHS service.
  • You should get a till receipt for the money paid - the Pharmacist is required to make a note of the patient's details and other information such as their doctor. (This can be checked when giving a refund when a script for the item is produced.)
  • The refund is obtained back from the pharmacy.

Please note this service is only available in genuine emergencies and applies to the majority of prescription drugs but not controlled drugs and is at the pharmacist's discretion to use their professional judgement as to whether they feel the supply is appropriate.

To find a Pharmacy offering the Emergency Medicines Supply Service, use our Pharmacy search facility. The out of hours filter will also show Pharmacies who offer ‘Emergency Medicine Supply Service’.

Please note that for patients who live in the Cardiff and Vale Health Board area, this service is only available via the GP Out of Hours Service.

Can I use my prescription outside of Wales?

You can take your prescription to any pharmacist. However, a prescription written in Wales and presented to a pharmacy in England will be subject to the prescription charges and rules currently in force in England.

What if I can’t find a pharmacy that’s open?
If you want to purchase general pain relief medicines, cold remedies or baby products after your nearest pharmacy has closed, you may be able to purchase them from a nearby garage or petrol station.

What is the Yellow Card Scheme?
The Yellow Card Scheme allows patients to report any unwanted side effects caused by medicines which they are taking by completing a yellow card and sending it to the medicines watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The MHRA collects the information and uses it to monitor the safety of medicines available on the market, including herbal remedies, prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines.

You can obtain a yellow card from a pharmacy of GP surgery, by downloading the YellowCard leaflet and form, or by calling the Yellow Card Hotline on 0808 100 3352 (Monday to Friday 10am -2pm).

You can also report suspected side-effects online via the facility on the MHRA website.

If you are worried about possible side effects of your medicine now, call NHS 111 Wales (if available in your area) or 0845 46 47, or speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice.