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NHS England decides new OTC prescribing rules

CCGs to implement guidance issued by NHS England

April 3rd 2018

Tagged: Clinical guidance news England

By Ailsa Colquhoun

NHS England has recommended an exemption to new OTC prescribing guidance for patients whose ability to self manage their health is compromised.

Following the recent OTC medicines prescribing consultation, it has issued OTC prescribing guidance, for CCGs which are to implement the new recommendations. This states that CCGs will need to take account of their latest local Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) and consider the impact of this guidance on rural areas and dispensing doctors in particular.

However, NHS England has suggested that prescribing for over the counter items for compromised patients should be subject to the item being clinically effective. The organisation also stresses that people who receive free prescriptions will not automatically be able to receive prescriptions for these items.

Medical, mental health or significant social vulnerability are among the reasons for prescribing to take place.

Other recommended exemptions include:

  •  People with long-term or more complex conditions who will continue to get their usual prescriptions.
  • For self-limiting conditions, where symptom relief may be required, the general exceptions will only apply where the prescription is for an over the counter item that is clinically effective.
  • For vitamins, minerals and probiotics, only the condition-specific exceptions will apply.

In its response to the consultation on the prescribing of over the counter (OTC) medicines, the DDA pointed out the  social inequity of the policy, the lack of rural proofing, and contractual restrictions that prevent GPs providing any medicines to NHS patients other than via an NHS prescription.

The DDA will be lobbying NHS England and ministers to allow GPs to sell OTC medicines.

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