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Non-prescription medicines

Patients with minor ailments should be given 'recommendation prescriptions'

A “recommendation prescription” should be given to patients with minor ailments, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB) has said. The prescriptions would suggest appropriate over-the-counter (OTC) treatments and include self-care advice for people with minor, self-treatable conditions.

The PAGB is a trade association that represents manufacturers of branded over-the-counter medicines, self-care medical devices and food supplements. Its call to empower people to self care follows recent NHS guidance intended to restrict prescriptions for minor and self-limiting conditions, where effective OTC treatments are available.

“Our research shows almost a third of people (32%) are visiting the GP for minor health concerns, such as a sore throat, when self-care would be much quicker and more convenient for the individual,” said John Smith, chief executive of the PAGB. “This clearly demonstrates a need for these ‘recommendation prescriptions’, which will give people the information they want to be able to self-care with confidence.”

A similar system was introduced in Germany in 2004. The Grüne Rezept (Green Prescription) is used to recommend an appropriate over-the-counter medicine, with costs to be borne by the patient. In 2016, German prescribers issued around 45 million green prescriptions, mainly for coughs and colds, diarrhoea and pain.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204688

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