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Wales backs away from OTC prescribing restrictions

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Wales backs away from OTC prescribing restrictions

The restrictions on prescribing OTC medicines for some minor self-limiting conditions, which were introduced in England in March 2018, will not be introduced in Wales.

The All Wales Prescribing Advisory Group, a government advisory body, discussed ‘Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: Guidance for NHS Wales’ at a meeting on December 5, 2018 and put the paper out for consultation.

However, following a raft of negative comment from the consultation, AWPAG has advised that the draft guidance should not be taken further.

Last month pharmacy minister Seema Kennedy revealed that the restrictions had saved NHS England an estimated £26m in the 12 months to January 2019, well below the £100m it was claimed the measures would free up for frontline care each year.

A spokesperson has since told Pharmacy Magazine: “NHS England did not claim that it would save £100m in the first year after the introduction of the guidance; this is a long-term programme.”

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