The Department of Health has announced that antiviral drugs should no longer be prescribed or dispensed for the treatment of influenza until further notice.
The most recent surveillance data from Public Health England suggests that circulation of flu in the community has now returned to baseline levels.
In an alert to all prescribers and community pharmacists, Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, said antivirals should no longer be prescribed or supplied for the treatment or prophylaxis of influenza.
In accordance with NICE guidance, GPs and other prescribers should no longer write prescriptions for the drugs and any pharmacist who is presented with an FP10 prescription in primary care should no longer supply the medicines, the alert says.
The advice stands until the Department of Health issues the go ahead to restart use of the antiviral drugs for influenza in primary care.
NHS clinical commissioners and NHS England have developed a scheme for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). This would be used to facilitate the NHS response to care home flu outbreaks in the out of season period, when advised by Public Health England’s Health Protection Teams and in line with NICE guidance.
Further details on this approach will be circulated shortly through the NHS England CCG bulletin, the Department of Health said.