This site is intended for health professionals only

MHRA has 'no plans' to change 'dangerous' inhaler rules

Nearly two-thirds of children with asthma face “increased health risks” as current rules mean they are unable to access an inhaler at school.

Regulations issued by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) prevent schools from carrying emergency asthma inhalers in their first aid kit as they are classed as prescription-only medication.

Asthma UK has called on the MHRA to change its “dangerous” rules.

“These medicines are very safe but going without them can be very dangerous, so it is crucial that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) changes the rules and allows schools to keep a spare inhaler as a last resort,” said Emily Humphreys, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Asthma UK.

“The majority of children know to find a teacher if they don't have their own inhaler when having an asthma attack at school but the reality is that there is very little that staff can legally do to help in this situation. 

“This puts children at risk.”

In order for schools to legally hold spare asthma inhalers, the MHRA would need to make exemptions to its regulations similar to those given to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the armed forces.

However, a spokesperson from the MHRA told NiP the government agency has "no plans" to change its current legal position.

"Asthma inhalers are classed as prescription only medicines and under medicines legislation only certain organisations and bodies such as hospitals are entitled to receive these type of medicines. Schools are not included in this group," said the spokesperson.

"The MHRA has no plans to change the currently legal position.

"The Department for Education has clear guidance on its website stating that it is for schools to develop their own policies on the management and administration of pupils' medicines and pit in place systems for supporting individual pupils with medical needs."


Question: Do you think schools should be allowed to hold emergency asthma inhalers?