RPS responds to the outcome of the NHS England consultation on low value medicine

Responding to the outcome of the consultation on items which should not be routinely prescribed in primary care, RPS England Chair Sandra Gidley said:

"We are pleased that NHS England have listened to the strong representation made by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and others to take a patient centred view on a number of the medicines included in the consultation. We welcome the proposals to restrict prescribing of medicines where there are safer or more effective alternatives to ensure the NHS can continue to gain best value from the medicines it funds.

"A number of medicines were included in the consultation which if stopped or changed, could have a detrimental effect on the health outcome for some patients. NHS England has listened to our concerns and incorporated these in the final guidance for CCGs.

"However, the proposed new consultation on restricting prescribing of over the counter (OTC) medicines for self limiting conditions and self care is of great concern.

"Community pharmacists are the right professionals to support patients to self-care and help to reduce pressure in other parts of the health service. Part of self care may include buying OTC treatments when appropriate and affordable for an individual. 

"However, we remain very concerned that the upcoming proposals on restricting prescribing of cost-effective and safe OTC medicines will end up exacerbating existing health inequalities and cause ill health amongst our most vulnerable and deprived communities, who cannot afford to pay for treatments. 

"Such a move would also violate Principle 2 of the NHS Constitution, which clearly states that ‘Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay' and would fundamentally alter the relationship between patients and the NHS. 

"We will respond to the consultation when it is published  next year."

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