Updated guidance for the prescribers of Specials published

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has today published updated professional guidance for the prescribers of Specials which is endorsed by the Royal College of GPs, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the Royal College of Nursing.

In 2012 the National Prescribing Centre and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published the original guidance for the prescribers of Specials in any care setting. At the request of NICE, RPS have updated the guidance, and will maintain it, on behalf of all the prescribing professions. In 2015, RPS also published professional guidance for pharmacists on the procurement and supply of Specials.

Specials are a category of unlicensed medicines that are manufactured or procured specifically to meet the special clinical needs of an individual patient. The guidance aims to support prescribers in all professions and in all care settings in the safe and appropriate prescribing of Specials.

 Prescribers and pharmacists both have a responsibility to ensure that where Specials are prescribed they are the most appropriate choice and patients are supported to use them effectively.  Decisions about the prescribing of Specials rely heavily on professional judgment based on understanding individual patient need. To reflect this, the guidance is based around five principles that can be used to guide prescribing decisions; the principles are illustrated by case studies.

We encourage prescribers and pharmacists to work together to ensure that patients are prescribed Specials appropriately and are supported to adhere to their treatment. This is particularly important when patients are moving between care settings.