Public consultation is being launched on new national guidelines for CCGs on medicines considered of low priority for NHS funding. Guidance states 18 treatments, including homeopathy and herbal treatments, cost taxpayers £141m a year, should generally not be prescribed.
The consultation also covers a further 3200 prescription items, many of which are readily available and sold ‘over the counter’, often at a significantly lower price than the cost to the NHS. Products for minor self-limiting conditions such as cough mixture and cold treatments, eye drops, laxatives and sun cream lotions currently cost taxpayers £50-100 million a year. NHS England is also supportive of restricting the availability of gluten-free foods on prescription, which costs £26million a year, and is currently subject to a Department of Health consultation.