About the Emergency Medicines Legislation

Legislation (SI 449 of 2015) has been introduced to allow for trained non-medical persons to administer specific prescription-only medicines to a person, without a prescription, for the purpose of saving their life or reducing severe distress in an emergency situation.

The six specified medicines are:

Medication

Emergency Condition

Administration Route

Epinephrine (adrenaline)
(pre-filled syringe)

Treatment of anaphylactic shock (adults and children)

Intramuscular injection

Glucagon

Treatment of hypoglycaemia (adults and children)

Intramuscular or subcutaneous injection

Glycerol trinitrate

Treatment of severe angina attack (adults)

Sublingual spray

Medical gas mixture of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen

Pain relief in emergency rescue situations (adults and children)

Inhalation

Naloxone hydrochloride
(pre-filled injection)

Treatment of respiratory depression secondary to known or suspected narcotic overdose (adults and children)

Intramuscular injection

Salbutamol inhaler

Treatment of acute asthmatic attack (adults and children)

Inhalation


Role of the HPRA

The legislation provides for the creation of a list by the HPRA of organisations that may procure one or more of the specified medicines for supply and administration in an emergency situation. The list will be publicly available to all interested stakeholders via the HPRA website. 

To ensure inclusion on the published list, an organisation must submit a valid ‘notification’ to the HPRA via the Emergency Medicines Portal. 

This notification should include confirmation of the appointment of at least one accountable person who is legally responsible to ensure compliance with the legislation.

The organisation should also ensure that there are individuals trained in the use of all medicines it wishes to procure, before it notifies the HPRA of its intention to procure those medicines.

Role of PHECC 

The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) protects the public by independently specifying, reviewing maintaining and monitoring standards of excellence for the safe provision of quality pre-hospital emergency care.

In the context of SI 449 of 2015, PHECC has developed education and training standard modules and clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for carrying out this public health initiative. This includes basic life support and administration and management of the specific emergency medication. PHECC is responsible for approving recognised institutions to deliver and certify courses for lay people/non-medical persons/members of the public. PHECC has devised training instruction materials to aid RIs in their delivery of the courses. 

Further information about PHECC’s role can be found on its website. PHECC has also published a helpful list of frequently asked questions

Role of the PSI

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), as the pharmacy regulator, acts to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of patients and the public.

In the context of SI 449 of 2015, the PSI sets the standards of training for pharmacist to be competent to administer these medicines in an emergency. The PSI has also produced guidance for pharmacists on the supply of emergency medicines to listed organisations for use under this legislation.

Further information about the PSI’s role can be found on its website.