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Four CCGs to reduce over-the-counter medicine prescribing

Four CCGs in Lincolnshire are introducing measures to reduce the prescribing of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for short term self-limiting conditions.

The CCGs – Lincolnshire East, Lincolnshire West, South West Lincolnshire and South Lincolnshire – made the move following a public consultation on medicines management.

Patients will be encouraged to buy medicines such as paracetamol and antihistamines themselves from their chemist.

The CCGs also agreed to limit the prescribing of gluten-free food to bread, flour and bread mixes only within Coeliac UK-recommended quantities. Further restrictions will apply to the prescribing of baby milk – including specialist infant formula – and to oral nutritional supplements.

Other CCGs in areas including Somerset, Bristol, Warrington, East Riding in Yorkshire and Luton have already called on GPs to reduce prescribing of OTC drugs.

A Pulse survey published earlier this month showed that nearly 60 per cent of GPs would support a ban on all prescribing of OTC medications.

Dr Peter Holmes, a GP in East Lincolnshire said: 'It is pleasing that we have the support of our patients to make these changes.

'We have a finite amount of money available and a duty to spend this in a way that achieves the best possible outcomes for all of our patients, so when it is possible to buy a box of paracetamol for 20p from a supermarket we think that is a better option for most people than expecting their GP to prescribe the same thing at a significantly increased cost.'

Readers' comments (2)

  • GoneDoc

    We are already rationing health care, there are many procedures I can't refer for without making a special application for funding which is frequently declined. I think asking people to pay for simple cheap over the counter medications is reasonable. I know folk who have recently lost toes to gangrene as a result of lack of operating capacity in our local vascular service. If the population wants to vote in governments that squeeze the health service to breaking point through lack of funding I can't see why asking them to pay for their paracetamol is such a crime.

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  • Work in Mid Essex, and so many of the "new" things I see on Pulse are things we have been doing for some time. Gluten free products for example have already been gone for a year.

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