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Discuss clinical needs with patients before ditching sun creams

Having read the announcement from the NHS and the term “waste which is in the system” (The Pharmaceutical Journal online, March 2017), I was surprised to read that sun creams fall within this category.

As a manufacturer of a prescribed sun cream, of which there are only three approved by the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances, which is responsible for advising on the prescribing of foodstuffs and toiletries, it is important to understand that we are not talking about people being prescribed sun creams to go on holiday, but for patients with a clinical need.

The three sun creams approved for prescription have clear qualities that provide the maximum protection for patients whose skin is sensitive and they are suffering from a skin complaint that exacerbates when exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

We know with our work with the charity Melanoma UK that there are advanced cases of malignant melanoma being treated with immunotherapy and with it the severe side effects caused, including the increased sensitivity to UV rays. Additionally, there are conditions such as lupus of which there are some 50,000 sufferers, and polymorphous light eruption accounting for approximately 10% of the population. Also, those with photosensitivity, photo dermatoses, and other sensitive skin conditions rely on being able to access the right protection for their symptoms and are being provided counselling from their doctor or pharmacist.

Before any final decision is made, it would be helpful if NHS England discussed the clinical needs with the appropriate patient groups and understand the requirement for sun creams and why they are prescribed and the support being provided.

Colin Darroch

Managing Director

Boston Healthcare Ltd  

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20202544

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