Tuesday, 28 March 2017

NHS England plans to scrap prescriptions for 'low-value' medicines



Gluten-free foods, travel vaccinations and omega-3 supplements may no longer be available on prescription under major NHS cost-cutting plans.
 
NHS England is developing new guidelines to stop GPs from prescribing medicines which can be purchased over the counter in pharmacies and even supermarkets for a fraction of the cost.


Paracetamol, sun cream, heartburn and indigestion treatments - as well as cough and cold remedies - may also be targeted as part of the review.


"Low-value" prescription items are estimated to cost NHS England about £128m a year, and the health service argues this money would be better spent on innovative new drugs.


Ten medicines are going to be included in the initial review. They include lidocaine plasters, which treat joint and back pain, and Fentinil - a painkiller for cancer patients.


Vaccines against hepatitis A, cholera and typhoid are also under scrutiny, as is the triple jab for diphtheria, polio and tetanus.


NHS England says it will take the views of patient groups, clinicians and providers into account when it begins a consultation next month.


A spokeswoman added: "The increasing demand for prescriptions for medication that can be bought over the counter at relatively low cost, often for self-limiting or minor conditions, underlines the need for all healthcare professionals to work even closer with patients to ensure the best possible value from NHS resources, whilst eliminating wastage and improving patient outcomes."





SKY     News.