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Cayman Conversation 16 Oct, 2023 Follow News

Nick Gent

Janet Flynn

Rudy Myles

Cayman Conversation

A period of extensive public consultation is being carried out in advance of major changes to the law under which pharmacies and pharmacists operate in the Cayman Islands.

Until the end of November this year, public input will be sought via community meetings and other forms of engagement utilising the media and the internet.

The committee responsible for obtaining feedback and educating the public about the need for the changes before the law goes to Parliament, has been outlining the extent and need for the changes on the Caymanian Times podcast Cayman Conversations with publisher Ralph Lewis.

According to a government guide to the consultations, the Pharmacy Bill, 2023 will close gaps due to the existing Pharmacy Act being very outdated.

It explains that the proposed Bill seeks to ensure and facilitate the proper regulation of the pharmacy practice. “It provides for the comprehensive control, quality and safety of various types of medicines. When the Bill becomes an Act, it will uphold the highest standard of pharmaceutical services for the Cayman Islands community,” it says.


The current law is over 40 years old and is regarded as severely outdated in many respects.

Providing more detail on the process on Cayman Conversations were Janett Flynn Senior Policy Advisor in the Ministry of Health, Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Gent, and Rudy Myles, Deputy chair of the Pharmacy Council.

“The current pharmacy act that we operate on the books is over 40 years old and so we recognise the need to have the new pharmacy legislation, Janett Flynn noted.

“First and foremost, this is to protect the public. I can’t overemphasise that,” she stated and went on to outline a number of changes proposed to ensure that the sector is properly regulated in the jurisdiction. These include licensing procedures for pharmacists and pharmacies and regulations covering importing approved drugs for personal use. Having approved medical staff other than pharmacists prescribing medications is also being considered.

A key element is clamping down on the availability of counterfeit medications.

“We wanted to make sure that we improve the integrity of the supply chain and make sure that the counterfeit medications some of those that were seen in the news recently that have been imported that we would try to stem that. We are also looking to work a lot closer with the Customs and Border Control(CBC) to ensure that these spurious activities will be deterred.”


Encouraging the public to participate in the consultation, CMO Dr Nick Gent said the more people are involved will ensure the better the quality of the consultation and the resulting legislation. The goal, he said, is to ensure that the law is robust.

“Safeguarding the public is the main legislation, but I would hope that we would probably get a good 20 years out of this bill. But to do that, this is where the public and the professional consultation come in,” Dr Gent said.

“We are just one group of people who’ve looked at the old legislation, looked at what’s needed by current best practice and try to enshrine it into the bill as it is, but that’s one set of eyes. Now the public, pharmacists and other medical practitioners coming along looking at it, the better the consultation. The more people involved, the better the feedback, the more likely we’re going to have a robust piece of law that we need for now.”

A related issue raised by host Ralph Lewis during this edition of Cayman Conversations was the interaction between patients/customers and pharmacists.

Deputy chair of the Pharmacy Council, Rudy Myles said it’s vital that that relationship is developed and encouraged the public to seek information about their medication if they are uncertain.

“I think the pharmacists are very willing to give that advice to clarify things that may be of concern to the customer. Because if that customer is happy and contented about what they’re taking, if they have more knowledge, (they would) feel better about taking it rather than taking it at home and putting it on the shelf and saying, I don’t really think I need it. The pharmacists can give them some advice in consultation with whatever the doctor has outlined, to say this is why the doctors prescribe this for you.”


Regarding the new legislation now out for public consultation, CMO Gent described it as “enormously important” and vital to a modern healthcare system.

He said the pharmaceutical sector is “the glue that holds a lot of clinical services together.”

The government guide on the consultation states: “The legislation is needed in order to respond to the current needs of the community by ensuring that medicines imported are of the highest quality, and to stem the importation of medicines by people without the appropriate authority/licence, thereby enabling the advancement of pharmacy practice locally.”

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