Folder Over The Counter products (OTC)

Over The Counter (OTC) Medicines

In the year prior to June 2017, the NHS spent approximately £569 million on prescriptions for medicines which could otherwise be purchased over the counter (OTC) from a pharmacy and/or other outlets such as petrol stations or supermarkets. 

 These prescriptions include items for a condition:

  • That is considered to be self-limiting and so does not need treatment as it will heal or be cured of its own accord;
  • Which lends itself to self-care i.e. the person suffering does not normally need to seek medical advice and can manage the condition by purchasing OTC items directly.  

These prescriptions also include other common items:

  • That can be purchased over the counter, sometimes at a lower cost than that which would be incurred by the NHS;
  • For which there is little evidence of clinical effectiveness.

By reducing spend on treating conditions that are self-limiting or which lend themselves to self-care, or on items for which there is little evidence of clinical effectiveness, these resources can be used for other higher priority areas that have a greater impact for patients, support improvements in services and/or deliver transformation that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

Link to Gloucestershire CCG OTC statement http://www.gloucestershireccg.nhs.uk/ccg-confirms-change-on-prescribing-of-over-the-counter-medicines/ and YouTube video https://youtu.be/OOp5OgFExhQ

Link to Worcestershire CCG OTC policy document  http://www.worcestershire.nhs.uk/prescribing/otc-meds/

Link to NHS England information for CCGs https://www.england.nhs.uk/medicines/over-the-counter-items-which-should-not-routinely-be-prescribed/

Quick reference guidance for healthcare professionals from NHSE https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/over-the-counter-quick-reference-guide.pdf

 

Documents

pdf OTC guidance for CCGs March 2018 ( pdf, 614 KB ) (31 downloads)