NHS England is recommending low value treatments, including fish oil, herbal remedies and homeopathy no longer be provided on the NHS, and they are launching a consultation on curbs to prescriptions for some ‘over the counter’ products such as paracetamol.
The NHS Board has agreed these treatments should no longer be routinely prescribed:
- Homeopathy – no clear or robust evidence to support its use
- Herbal treatments – no clear or robust evidence to support its use
- Omega-3 Fatty Acid Compounds (fish oil) – essential fatty acids which can be obtained through diet, low clinical effectiveness
- Co-proxamol – pain killer which has had its marketing authorisation withdrawn due to safety concerns
- Rubefacients (excluding topical NSAIDS) – warming muscle rub products, limited evidence
- Lutein and Antioxidants – used to treat the eye condition age related macular degeneration , low clinical effectiveness
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin – used for joint pain, low clinical effectiveness
Click HERE for further information and the full list of products that should no longer be routinely prescribed.
The over the counter medicines proposals for consultation include stopping the routine prescribing of products that:
- Can be purchased over the counter, and sometimes at a lower cost than that which would be incurred by the NHS – paracetamol is an average of four times as expensive when provided on prescription by the NHS, compared to when it is purchased in pharmacies or supermarkets. It can costs around £34 for 32 on prescription including dispensing and GP consultation fees
- Treat a condition that is considered to be self-limiting, so does not need treatment as it will heal/be cured of its own accord, such as a common cold.
- Treat a condition which could be managed by self-care, i.e. that the person does not need to seek medical care or could visit a pharmacist.
NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners are working with GPs, pharmacists and patient groups to develop and refine the proposals which will be consulted on in the New Year, in particular where exemptions may apply.
Click HERE for further information on these proposals
You may be aware that the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) announced earlier this year that they do not routinely support the prescribing of medication that is available to buy over the counter from local pharmacies or supermarkets.