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Prescribing of over the counter medications is changing Posted on 26 Feb 2019


In the year prior to June 2017, the NHS spent approximately £569 million on prescriptions for medicines which can be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy and other outlets such as supermarkets.

These prescriptions include items for a condition:


•That is considered to be self-limiting and so does not need treatment as it will heal of its own accord;


•Which lends itself to self-care, i.e. that the person suffering does not normally need to seek medical care but may decide to seek help with symptom relief from a local pharmacy and use an over the counter medicine.


Vitamins/minerals and probiotics have also been included in the consultation proposals as items of limited clinical effectiveness which are of high cost to the NHS.


The NHS each year spends:


•£22.8 million on constipation – enough to fund around 900 community nurses


•£3 million on athletes foot and other fungal infections – enough to fund 810 hip ops


•£2.8 million on Diarrhoea – enough to fund 2912 cataract operations


Other over-the-counter products currently prescribed include remedies for dandruff, indigestion, mouth ulcers and travel sickness. Each year the NHS also spends 4.5 million on dandruff shampoos, £7.5 million on indigestion and heartburn, and £5.5 million on mouth ulcers.

Staines Health Group fully support the NHS England campaign to ensure NHS resources are used appropriatley. For further information please see the NHS website at  or leaflet -  Mecicines available to buy at the pharmacy


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