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Prescribing of Over-the-Counter Medicines

Prescribing of Over-the-Counter Medicines

GPs in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen CCG's will no longer normally prescribe medicines which can be bought over-the-counter for short term conditions and minor ailments.

CCG Position Statement / Prescribing Guidance

What are short-term conditions and minor ailments? 
 Short-term conditions tend to improve on their own without a long-term effect on a  person’s health. Minor 
 ailments are  uncomplicated conditions which can be diagnosed and managed without seeing the doctor. 
 Some examples of these include:coughs, colds and sore throats; colic; threadworms; verrucas; warts; acne and indigestion.


What are over-the-counter medicines? 
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can be bought directly without a prescription from a high street pharmacy, supermarket or other shops and online. Some examples include: paracetamol and ibuprofen;  antihistamines; eye drops to treat allergies and 
indigestion treatments.

Why will over-the-counter medicines no longer be routinely prescribed? 
 We recently reviewed our policy to prescribe OTC medicines following a consultation with the public during July 2017, on
 stopping the routine prescribing of these medicines. The majority of people who responded to our consultation supported this
 proposal. The NHS spends valuable financial resources and doctors’ time on prescribing medicines and other products
 that you can buy without a prescription. The money we can save could help to fund more procedures e.g.hip and knee 
 replacements, more drug treatments for breast cancer and more community nurses. 
 As our local population continues to grow, this prescribing places more pressure on scarce NHS resources. Medicines can be
 bought from shops or pharmacies after seeking appropriate advice from a healthcare professional. Significant savings can be  
 made by not taking up a GP appointment for the supply of an OTC medicine and should also increase the availability of
 appointments for patients with more serious  conditions. In order to fund services of the greatest need in Lancashire,
 we need to make sure that public money is being used in the most cost effective way. Reducing the prescribing of OTC 
medicines is also now part of the NHS England agenda. Many CCGs around the country are restricting or stopping the
 prescribing of OTC medicines on the NHS. It is not just the cost of the medicines which could be a saving but also NHS costs
 or the entire process (including GP time for an appointment).