Blister Packs

We sometimes receive requests for “blister packs” to help with medications. This is to explain why we don’t find them helpful and what we suggest instead:

  • They don’t work: There is little evidence for their benefit and they have been found to be associated with high levels of drug errors/incidents. 
  • Waste & cost: With both the time used, and all the plastic and materials used, they are wasteful of time, materials, and medications.

So what do we recommend?

  • A simple pill organiser box, which can be washed and re-used, such as the £1.50 “Keep It Handy Weekly Pill Box” from Tesco. This would require you or someone else to organise your tablets into the boxes, usually once a week, but larger monthly boxes are available or boxes with compartments for different times.
  • Alarm devices or mobile apps to remind you to take your tablets at certain times
  • Medication reminder charts 
  • If remembering to order your medication is a problem and you use the same medicines regularly, you may be able to benefit from using the NHS Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) service.

How do I get a blister pack?

Blister packs are not suitable for all medicines and are not always available for free.

The Community Pharmacy who dispenses your medicines will need to assess your situation to determine whether you may benefit from a blister pack or other support. The Equality Act (2010) legally requires Pharmacies to make reasonable adjustments if appropriate. Reasonable adjustments can include: use of large print labels, provision of non-clicklock caps, medication reminder charts, blister packs.

The only requirement for a blister pack to be supplied free of charge is if you qualify under the Equality Act (2010) and if a blister pack is deemed the most appropriate reasonable adjustment by the Community Pharmacist. If this criteria is met we will provide the pharmacy with monthly prescriptions.


Do I need to have weekly (7-day) prescriptions for a blister pack?

You do not need weekly prescriptions for a blister pack, unless your prescriber has determined this is needed for clinical reasons. It costs the NHS 4 times as much in dispensing fees when supplying weekly prescriptions to Pharmacies compared to supplying them monthly. We reserve weekly prescribing for a small number of patients (for example with cognitive impairments or who are at risk of medication misuse) due to increased workload and costs to the NHS.

We will not be amending prescriptions to 7 days on the request of a patient or pharmacy for any other reason than a clinical one. If you do not qualify under the Equality Act and a Pharmacy decides to charge for 28 day prescriptions but not 7 day prescriptions, this is up to them as a business. Unfortunately it is not the responsibility of the GP Practice to make this free by making this an expense to the NHS and Pharmacies should not be encouraging us to do this.


My Pharmacy says “We do not do blister packs”

Pharmacies are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments for those who qualify under the Equality Act (2010). Pharmacies are therefore responsible for completing an assessment for you to determine whether you qualify. Pharmacies should not say they do not do blister packs as a blanket rule without any individual assessment. If this is happening, you should address this legal obligation with the Responsible Pharmacist/ Pharmacy Manager at the branch or head office.