Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 27 February 2023.

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Photo of Damien Moore Damien Moore Conservative, Southport

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an estimate of the potential financial savings for the NHS of not prescribing over-the-counter medication.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

We have made no estimate. The joint NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners guidance ‘Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: guidance for CCGs’ was published in 2018. It recommends that over the counter items should not be prescribed for 35 conditions that are either minor or will resolve without treatment, and that probiotics and vitamins and minerals, which are not clinically effective, should also not be prescribed.

The guidance is currently being updated and is expected to be published this spring. This will include estimates of potential financial savings for the National Health Service of not prescribing over-the-counter items, taking account of the changes in prescribing volumes since publication of the guidance.

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