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GPC will battle to save vaccine pay

The Government's drug safety watchdog has ignored objections from antimicrobial advisers and decided choramphenicol can become the first broad-spectrum antibiotic to be sold over the counter.

The Committee on Safety of Medicines approved the controversial move after considering consultation responses at a meeting in February.

A source involved in the decision told Pulse: 'The committee recommended the switch was okay in principle, with a number of qualifications. The decision was that pharmacists would only be doing what GPs do and it would be more accessible.'

The Government's Specialist Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance had told the CSM the move would set a dangerous precedent and open the floodgates to other antibiotic manufacturers.

Dr Douglas Fleming, SACAR member and director of the RCGP Birmingham research unit, said: 'We have resisted antibiotics being available other than on prescrip- tion. Now a precedent has been established and the question is: what drug is next?'

The final decision now lies with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, but it would be unusual for it to ignore CSM recommendations.

The MHRA could not confirm the ruling, but manufacturer Crookes Healthcare said it had received a letter from the CSM outlining its approval.

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