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Emergency ban on private prescribing of puberty blockers

AuthorsRichard HoughThorrun Govind

3 min read


Pharmacist 1600

An emergency ban on puberty blockers places pharmacists in a potentially tricky situation.

Here, our own practising pharmacist and Solicitor Thorrun Govind and Head of Healthcare Richard Hough explore what you legally need to know.

This article was first published in Chemist+Druggist on 31 May 2024.


What's just happened?

The Government will restrict the prescribing and supply of puberty-suppressing hormones, known as ‘puberty blockers’, to children and young people under 18 years old in England, Wales and Scotland. 


How long will the ban on puberty blockers last?

This emergency ban will last from 3 June to 3 September 2024 and no new patients under 18 years old will be prescribed these medicines (medicinal products that consist of or contain buserelin, gonadorelin, goserelin, leuprorelin acetate, nafarelin or triptorelin) for the purposes of puberty suppression in those experiencing gender dysphoria or incongruence under the care of these prescribers. 


Who does the ban apply to?

This ban will apply to prescriptions written by UK private prescribers and prescribers registered in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. 


Why has the ban on prescribing puberty blockers been introduced?

The NHS stopped the routine prescription of puberty blocker treatments to under-18s following the Cass Review into gender identity services.

In April 2024, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) provided an interim update for pharmacists and pharmacy teams on this topic, following the publication of the Cass Review in April 2024. 

This indicated that they were continuing to consider the Cass Review to consider any communications or other actions they should take in response.  


What happened next?

This was followed by a further resource on 24 May 2024 to support pharmacists and pharmacy technicians if they are providing pharmacy services to children and young people relating to gender incongruence. 

This resource provides a number of questions for pharmacy professionals to consider which cover professional behaviour, personal values and beliefs, professional judgement, supporting vulnerable or at-risk patients, consent, confidentiality and effective communication and clinical appropriateness of medicines.

What should I do if asked to fill a prescription for puberty blockers?

This is an area of great public interest and pharmacists should be extremely careful if they receive prescriptions for these medications and ensure that they are up to date with the latest resources from the GPhC. 

There is a very clear expectation by the regulator that pharmacy professionals have taken into account the evidence that informed the work of the Cass Review and the review’s findings about the ‘lack of high-quality evidence’ in this area. 

We advise that pharmacy professionals should keep clear and detailed contemporaneous documentation concerning these medications, including when dispensing is not appropriate.


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Thorrun Govind

Thorrun is a Solicitor in our regulatory and professional conduct team.

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Thorrun Govind

Richard Hough

Richard is a Partner. He leads our commercial and IP and healthcare sector teams.

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Richard Hough

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