As of 31 May 2018 GP surgeries are no longer able to routinely prescribe to patients a range of medicines, vitamins and minerals that are available to buy over the counter from pharmacies and supermarkets. The change applies to medicines for a total of 35 conditions. This includes, for example, medicines for coughs, colds, infrequent cold sores of the lip, mild to moderate hayfever, mild cystitis, nappy rash, warts and verrucas, earwax and headlice. There are exceptions to the change, which include:

  1. Patients prescribed an over the counter medicine for a long term or more complex health condition or;
  2. Where a clinician considers a patient’s wellbeing could be affected due to health, mental health or significant social vulnerability.

For the full list of conditions, please see

Click below to view the patients information leaflet prepared by the Clinical Commissioning Group:

OTC Patient Leaflet

Patients are encouraged to discuss the range of medicines available to buy over the counter with pharmacy staff. Community pharmacies have a key role in advising you on minor ailments that can be treated yourself. They are experts on medicines and can signpost you to other services if needed.

The decision taken by Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group followed a recent national consultation and NHS England guidance which recommended the change. The medicines are associated with a number of minor, short term conditions, which either get better by themselves or you can treat yourself. The annual prescribing cost for these medicines in Gloucestershire is around £2 million. Click below to view a letter from Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group explaining the change:

OTC Medicines Letter to GP Patients from CCG

or click here to view an explanatory video prepared by Dr Charles Buckley, GP Prescribing Clinical Lead.

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