The NHS have revealed that from the end of May, some common medicines including those for cystitis, migraines, and coughs, will no longer be available on prescription.
The decision has been made in a bid to cut costs for many products that can be obtained ‘over-the-counter’.
As such, medicines for minor conditions, such as those for haemorrhoids and treatment for oral thrush, will no longer be regularly prescribed.
The decision was made at a recent consultation, and received “broad support”, with over 60% of respondents in favour of the changes to prescriptions.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, spoke of the decision, saying they have hopes that it will mean more money can be put into other services.
He said, “Across the NHS our aim is to: ‘Think like a patient, act like a taxpayer’. The NHS is probably the most efficient health service in the world, but we’re determined to keep pushing further.
“Every pound we save from cutting waste is another pound we can then invest in better A&E care, new cancer treatments and much better mental health services.”
However, the move will not affect prescriptions for people who have long-term or more difficult conditions.
In some cases, prescriptions for certain medicines can cost the NHS far more than they would cost the patient, to buy the product over-the-counter.
So which medicines will be affected by the changes?
Treatments for all kinds of conditions will no longer be available on prescription. These will include medicines for:
- mild cystitis
- infrequent migraines
- infrequent constipation
- mouth ulcers
- travel sickness
- dry eyes
- minor pain conditions
- oral thrush
- ringworm/athlete’s foot
- warts and veruccas
- minor burns and scalds
- insect bites
- dry skin
- sore throats
- infrequent cold sores
- cradle cap
- infant colic
- excessive sweating
These medicines will no longer be available, on prescription, from 31st May.
At the moment, it’s thought that NHS England spends millions of pounds a year footing the bill for presciptions that could be bought by pateints over-the-counter.
They have said that they spend £22.8 million every year on constipation medicine, and £4.5 million on dandruff treatments.
It’s estimated that taking certain medicines off the prescription list could free up £100 million a year, to give to other NHS services.