NHS England advice on the use of over-the-counter medicines

24 October, 2019

In 2017, the NHS spent £569 million on prescriptions of medicines able to be purchased over the counter from pharmacies and other outlets for conditions considered to be self-limiting minor ailments.

The medicines included homeopathic treatments, vitamin and mineral preparations and skin moisturisers.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have become involved in reducing the prescribing of over-the-counter medicines unless they are clinically indicated, and NHS England has produced guidance and tools to support this programme.

This includes guidance on which over-the-counter medicines should be prescribed by GPs for people in care homes, and which should be purchased. This decision should always be made on an individual patient basis.