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GPs told to halt prescription of antiviral medicines for flu

GPs have been told to halt the prescription of antiviral medicines for flu because the circulation of the virus has fallen to low levels.

Chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies has told GPs they will not be able to prescribe antiviral medicines for the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza at the NHS’s expense.

Public Health England has declared that the incidence of flu in the community has fallen below the level at which NICE guidelines states that antiviral medicines should be used.

In a letter to GPs, pharmacists, trust senior managers and other NHS workers, she wrote: ‘The most recent surveillance data, which has been assessed by Public Health England (PHE), suggests that the circulation of influenza in the community has now fallen to low levels and, in the view of PHE, below the level at which the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on the use of antiviral medicines is triggered.

‘GPs cannot any longer prescribe, at NHS expense, antiviral medicines for the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza, in accordance with NICE guidance and Schedule 2 of the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts (Prescription of drugs etc) Regulations 2004), commonly known as the Grey List or Selected List Scheme. This stands until we write again when the use of antivirals is next triggered.’

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