NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Medicines
Medicines Update

Repurposing Medicines in Care Homes

Temporary Guidance for Repurposing Medicines in Care Homes

Key messages

  • NHS Scotland and the Care Inspectorate have jointly developed temporary guidance on repurposing medicines within care homes and hospices in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak 
  • This guidance should be reserved for use in exceptional circumstances only to allow immediate treatment where access to medication is not possible via normal routes


In the care home setting, repurposing medicines is the term used to describe a situation where a medicine prescribed for one resident (the donor) is administered to another resident (the recipient), to allow immediate treatment where access to medication is not possible via normal routes.

The guidance offers a framework to support the repurposing of medicines in these circumstances. This should be reserved for exceptional circumstances only and where it is in the best interests of the patient to do so.

The full guidance and supporting materials can be accessed via Health Improvement Scotland website here.

The NHSGGC Clinical Advisory Group and Pharmacy Care Home Group support the adoption of the national guidance for local use in care homes. Current processes for medicines procurement in hospices across NHSGGC are such that medicines repurposing in that setting is not expected.

The Pharmacy Care Home Group has developed a flowchart (available here) to support effective use of the national guidance. This has been included in the NHSGGC COVID 19 Care Home Support Pack distributed to care homes and GP surgeries across the Health Board.


Published 24/06/2020. Medicines Update blogs are correct at the time of publication.