COVID-19 VACCINATIONS: If, in addition to indemnity for your main employment, you would like cover for delivering COVID-19 Vaccinations please apply for our standalone extension Apply Today

Home   »   Legal Defence Costs Insurance   »   Prosecutions


Defence against prosecutions brought as a result of non-deliberate criminal acts in the conduct of a pharmacist’s professional responsibilities, or for any civil proceedings brought under the Race Relations, Sex Discrimination or Data Protection Acts

Pharmacy is a highly regulated profession and occasionally pharmacists may face prosecution.

Historically, pharmacists may have been prosecuted for offences against the 1968 Medicines Act, the 1954 Pharmacy Act and the Misuse of Drugs Act. In recent years, however, the Crown Prosecution Service has considered gross negligence manslaughter proceedings against pharmacists for errors causing death.


Allegations of criminal conduct are becoming an increasing problem for pharmacists, as authorities move to progressively tighten up on enforcement and employers/contractors seek ever greater control over their businesses and employees/locums. There is also an increasing tendency to invoke the criminal law and impose criminal sanction for acts which 10 or 20 years ago would have attracted (at most) a civil penalty.


Pharmacists generally have little or no experience of being under investigation, do not know their legal rights and are easily intimidated by such situations. Finding yourself the focus of investigations which have professional or criminal implications can therefore be a frightening and daunting experience, to the extent that (in the hope of bringing matters to a swift conclusion) you may be tempted to make statements and do things that you later regret and which you certainly would be legally advised not to do. In some instances, the police are put under pressure by a family of a patient to pursue gross negligence manslaughter proceedings against a pharmacist who they see as being linked to the death of their loved one.


Try to be aware of the dangers to which the increasingly litigation-prone world and increasing statutory requirements in the practice of your profession make you ever more prone.

As a pharmacist you MUST realize that you need to defend your position from the outset, no matter how uncomfortable that may be temporarily. Specialist advice and representation is essential from the very moment that it becomes clear allegations may be made against you. You must seek out, demand and obtain professional advice and assistance as early as possible in any situation where you are accused of criminal or contractual wrongdoing, negligence, etc. of any kind. Resist the temptation to deal with matters yourself in the hope of ‘nipping it in the bud’ – as it rarely works. No matter how much you have enjoyed working for your employer, in the event of a serious incident, you are strongly urged not to rely upon your employer’s offer of support for your defence costs. This gives your employer the opportunity to influence your defence in a way that may be detrimental to your interests, but which may be beneficial to your employer’s interests.

If you are faced with the unfortunate situation where you may be wrongly accused of an unlawful act, you must defend yourself.


If you are facing an investigation that could lead to a prosecution, contact the PDA on 0121 694 7007. We will:

  • Give you independent advice
  • Give you practical support by providing you with an experienced advisor to assist you in any proceedings that may be instigated

Remember, as a member you are covered by insurance* providing up to £500,000 in defence of any unintentional acts which may lead to prosecution arising from pharmacist’s duties or for any civil proceedings brought under the Race Relations, Sex Discrimination or Data Protection Act.

*The insurance included with PDA membership is arranged and administered by The Pharmacy Insurance Agency (PIA) Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063).

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

Cookie Use

This website uses cookies to help us provide the best user experience. If you continue browsing you are giving your consent to our use of cookies.

General Guidance Resources Surveys PDA Campaigns Regulations Locums Indemnity Arrangements Pre-Regs & Students FAQs Coronavirus (COVID-19)