NHS England Consultation on Over the Counter Medicines

NHS England launched a public consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for minor, short-term health concerns which could save the NHS millions of pounds a year and encourage more people to self care.  The consultation took place between 22 December 2017 to 14 March 2018.

A list of 33 minor health concerns has been identified by a national joint clinical working group which are either self-limiting or suitable for self-care. Vitamins/minerals and probiotics have also been included as items of low clinical effectiveness which are of high cost to the NHS.

The consultation does not affect prescribing of items for longer term or more complex conditions or where minor illnesses are symptomatic or a side effect of something more serious.

As a result of this consultation, NHS England has published guidance addressed to CCGs to support them to fulfill their duties around appropriate use of prescribing resources. To view the guidance, please visit: 

https://www.england.nhs.uk/medicines/conditions-for-which-over-the-counter-items-should-not-routinely-be-prescribed/

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