Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

sections

Hypersensitivity and allergy

Gluten-free prescribing limited to bread and flour mixes

The decision follows a public consultation on gluten-free prescribing that ran alongside a wider consultation on limiting routine prescribing of a range of products in primary care.

gluten free supermarket shelf

Source: Shutterstock.com

The government has declared that people who are allergic to gluten can now only be prescribed gluten-free bread and flour mixes as opposed to a wide range of GF products previously available by prescription on the NHS

Patients who are allergic to gluten will now only be able to be prescribed gluten-free (GF) bread and flour mixes, the government has said.

Announcing its decision, the Department for Health and Social Care said that limiting prescriptions of gluten-free products would “deliver savings to the NHS and help mitigate the risk that those on lower incomes would not be able to purchase their own GF foods from retail outlets where price is often higher and availability more limited”.

The decision follows a public consultation on GF prescribing that ran alongside a wider consultation on limiting routine prescribing of a range of products in primary care. That consultation led to NHS England guidance for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) on the prescription of low value items including homeopathy, herbal treatments, and omega-3 fatty acid compounds.

Before the GF prescribing consultation, coeliac patients benefited from prescriptions for all GF foods, costing the NHS an estimated £25.7m a year.

The government estimates that an additional £10m could be saved through patients no longer needing to attend GP appointments in order to get their GF prescriptions.

Currently, staple GF foods such as bread, flour and pasta are available on prescription to patients diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. GF foods have been provided on prescription to these patients since the late 1960s when they were less available.

Evidence from CCGs has shown that the NHS pays much more than the consumer for the same GF products.

In a statement, charity Coeliac UK said it was pleased that the needs of coeliac patients had been recognised at a national level, but it expressed concern that some individual CCGs were removing access to GF foods in some areas.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204354

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • gluten free supermarket shelf

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.