Prescribing Policy for Over the Counter Medications

Bedfordshire CCG does not routinely support the prescribing of medication that is available to buy from local pharmacies or supermarkets for children or adults. The medications or conditions listed below are examples of where medicines should be purchased by the patient/parent/guardian:

  • Moisturising creams, gels, ointments and balms for dry skin with no diagnosis
  • Hay fever remedies e.g. antihistamines
  • Nasal sprays (patients >18yrs)
  • Bath oils and shower gel (unless recommended by a specialist for infected atopic eczema)
  • Preventative vitamins and supplements e.g. low dose vitamin D (<2,000units), I-Caps
  • Potassium hydroxide for Molluscum contagiosum e.g. Molludab
  • Lubricating eye drops and chloramphenicol eye drops and eye ointment (patients >2yrs)
  • Anti-diarrhoeal medication for short term diarrhoea (<72hrs)
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen for short term use
  • Antifungal preparations e.g. Canesten
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Anti-inflammatory gels e.g. ibuprofen gel
  • Laxatives for short term use (<72 hours)
  • Head lice treatments
  • Threadworm tablets
  • Lactose free infant formula
  • Antiperspirants
  • Cough and cold remedies
  • Medicated shampoos e.g. Alphosyl, Capasal
  • Mouthwash e.g. Corsodyl
  • Indigestion remedies e.g. Gaviscon, Peptac
  • Haemorrhoidal preparations e.g. Anusol
  • Nasal douches e.g Sterimar

This list is not exhaustive.

The reasons for this are as follows:

  • Patients should keep a small supply of simple treatments in their own medicine cabinet so they are able to manage minor ailments at home.
  • Patients have a responsibility to look after themselves and their children where possible and manage self-limiting minor ailments with support from their local pharmacy if needed.
  • All these medicines are widely available from supermarkets and pharmacies at reasonable cost.
  • Many of these treatments are more expensive when prescribed on the NHS compared to when they are purchased in pharmacies or supermarkets.
  • The NHS belongs to everybody and the CCG must ensure that its resources are used in the best possible way for all patients.

Patient queries or complaints

Any patient queries or complaints should be directed to the enquiries team at Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning group 01525 864405

With acknowledgement to the Medicines Management Team, Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG.