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Pulse Live day 2: OTC meds, Arctic temperatures and a real life gladiator

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14.30 Lowlight of the morning: the temperature. Doing the same thing to my testicles as did standing on the train platform (read yesterday’s live blog, slackers). We’re assured the air-con will be ratcheted down from ‘Arctic’ soon. Highlight: Dr Zoe Williams, RCGP clinical champion for physical activity and lifestyle having everyone jumping up and down, which did at least warm us up. Even better, I discovered she used to be Amazon, the TV gladiator. Amazing. That’s one ticked off the bucket list: I have met an actual real proper Gladiator. OK, not Wolf, but even so.

Meanwhile, there’s a rumour going round that keynote speaker David Mowat is going to beat a hasty retreat at talk-end, without answering any questions. This is causing a significant rumble of discontent, as you can imagine. If so, it’s a real lost opportunity to lightly grill a politician. We have a plan B though. It involves putting Amazon at the exit door armed with one of those gameshow battle-paddles. Gladiator, rrrrrrrrrready?!

10.30 Another day, another debate. This time, should GPs stop prescribing all OTC meds? Cracking start from ace Pulse columnist Shaba Nabi with her declaration, ‘There is a massive difference between what patients want and what patients need.’

Yay. And if that sounds doctor centred, I don’t care. Pulse Live is our day.

Shaba neatly pointed out that most OTC treatment is easily affordable. While we’re still guilty of spoon-feeding our patients Calpol, her family always provided their own, despite her being one of nine kids. Which reminds me, maybe contraception should be available OTC, too.

An impressive opening, too, from Martin Duerden, arguing against the motion, with a quote from another ‘illustrious’ Pulse columnist (modesty forbids). The way ahead, he suggests, is a more measured approach using, say, minor ailments schemes and pharmacists, assuming pharmacists still exist. And, with admirable candour and pragmatism, he added that, at least an unnecessary cough mixture is less heinous than an inappropriate antibiotic.

Result? 65% plus in favour of the motion, so long as it’s sorted nationally rather than piecemeal. So, yes, OTC really is OTT.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Azeem Majeed

    Should GPs stop prescribing all OTC medications? This issue was also covered by the BMJ today in a news report.

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  • If you are really hard up, a couple of quid for paracetamol for your child can be quite hard to fund

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  • to anonymous ex gp. i dont know anyone that hard up in the UK who cannot afford calpol for their child and if i did, i would buy it for them and i am sure the local vicar would as well.

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  • Healthy Cynic

    Well it's priorities isn't it? If you're not prepared to give up the fags for half a day, cancel SkyDaytime or cook instead of having that takeaway tonight, then the kids will just have to put up with earache.

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  • Blimey, some of you have no idea about real poverty do you?

    Instead of criticising how people with very little money chose to spend what little they have, how about suggesting a much fairer solution - that pharmacists can give away OTC meds for free to people who are eligible for free prescriptions.

    Stop making OTC meds prescribable by GPs and make them only prescribable by pharmacists.

    Problem sorted, job done, and all is fair.

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder