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Member views sought: NHS England proposals to restrict 'low priority' prescriptions

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) is seeking members’ views on NHS England’s ongoing consultation, ‘Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care’.

Part five of the consultation, published in 21 July 2017, proposes that more than 3,200 medicines which are available over the counter should not be routinely prescribed. NHS England has said the medicines in question are used for conditions that are minor or self-limiting (e.g. diarrhoea and constipation, head lice, and mild acne). The items targeted for restriction include antifungal creams, sunscreens and eczema creams and ointments.

NHS England said the proposals, if approved, would be used to create guidance to help clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) “use their prescribing resources effectively”.

The RPS has said that it would reject any proposed restriction on prescribing clinically effective medicines to treat common conditions. Such a move would, the Society argued, “fundamentally alter the principle that care is free at the point of delivery and as such should be legislated for by Parliament and not implemented by clinical commissioning groups”.

Now the Society is developing a “robust response” to the consultation. Members who wish to share their views for inclusion in the Society’s response should send their comments to Heidi Wright, English Practice & Policy Lead, at, by 2 October 2017.

The consultation closes on 21 October 2017. More information is available on the RPS website.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203451

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