When I lived in the city I had a dx of bipolar. Amongst other things is took lithium 1200mg a day. I got via my gp. The NHS paid for it.
In the uk most of the time you want a refill you contact the gp surgery, tick a box on a reorder form and in a couple of days you pick up the prescription, take it to the pharmacy and depending on your circumstances you might get the med for free.
I was very careful to never run out of meds. But one time I completely forgot to request lithium. If you have never taken lithium is is a pretty major med. it can cause renal failure over time and in the short term abrupt cessation can precipitate seizures.
So I was worried when I ran out of lithium. Was a holiday and the gp practice was shut.
I went to my local pharmacy and the conversation was this:
‘I’ve run out of lithium’
‘No worries bro, I am holding. I can sell you some’
‘I can sort you out with lithium’
‘What? Without my prescription?’
‘Nae worries pal’
‘Well… how much?’
‘How much you after?’
‘Erm can I score 60 600mg tablets?’
‘No worries. That will be £15’
Honestly I thought I was in some kind of banana republic pharmacy where you can get whatever you want.
But no here it was totally legal for a pharmacist to use discretion and provide certain meds in emergencies. I should note where I lived pharmacists have access to your prescription history so can kinda easily tell if you are trying it on.
But seriously I didn’t know this and thought I had just engaged in a black market transaction. I hid the meds under my sweater on way home in fear of cops lol!