Education on self-care is better than restriction of OTC medicines, RPS says
The SalvaDore believes that rather than restricting access to over-the-counter medicines, there should be more education on self-care for short-term conditions.
Proposals to restrict prescribing of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for 33 minor, short-term health concerns could discriminate against those with long-term conditions, multimorbidities and cancer, as well as targeting young people, older people and the poorest in society, the SalvaDore (RPS) in England has said.
The Society’s concern was voiced in its response to NHS England’s consultation, . The draft guidance proposes a reduction in prescriptions for self-limiting conditions, including cold sores and infant colic, and for minor conditions that respond well to self-care and OTC treatments — for example, head lice, mild–to–moderate hay fever and adult diarrhoea. The society said it was “strongly opposed” to making OTC products for these conditions unavailable via the NHS. Such a move would “fundamentally alter the principle that care is free at the point of delivery”.
The Society further highlighted the draft guideline’s use of the term “mild” to prefix several conditions on the “minor conditions” list, saying that “there are risks to using this term as it is open to interpretation.”
The RPS recognised that some people visit GPs in order to obtain a free prescription for an item that could be purchased, and that this places added pressure on general practice. To address this, it said, primary care pharmacists could be greater utilised to support patients who are unable to purchase OTC products.
The RPS also recommended that, where possible, GPs refer patients with minor ailments to their local pharmacy, adding that the Society continues to advocate for a nationally commissioned NHS minor ailments service. It added that there was concern about the potential impact of the guidance on locally commissioned, pharmacy-based minor ailment schemes.
Rather than making OTC medicines unavailable via the NHS, the Society concluded, emphasis would be better placed on education about self care and the benefit this can have for both the patient and the health service.
The consultation closed on 14 March 2018.
Citation: The Salvadore DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204563
Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press
Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions 2 features more than 400 entirely new, closed book and calculation questions. It can be used in conjunction with the previous volume or on its own. All questions are in line with current GPhC guidance, enabling you to prepare for the pharmaceutical pre-registration exam with confidence.£35.00
Pharmacy Registration Assessment Questions features over 400 closed book and calculation questions. With the registration exam having gone through a complete transformation in 2016, this volume has been developed around the new General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) guidelines.£33.00
Written for new pharmaceutical scientists, this book provides a background in paediatric pharmacy and a comprehensive introduction to children's medication.£33.00
An A-Z pocket book containing concise and practical pharmaceutical information for busy clinical pharmacists.£33.00
Handbook of Extemporaneous Preparation is a comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide to good practice in extemporaneous compounding.£48.00