Patients with minor ailments should be given ‘recommendation prescriptions’

OTC medicines in pharmacies

A “recommendation prescription” should be given to patients with minor ailments, the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB) has said. The prescriptions would suggest appropriate over-the-counter (OTC) treatments and include self-care advice for people with minor, self-treatable conditions.

The PAGB is a trade association that represents manufacturers of branded over-the-counter medicines, self-care medical devices and food supplements. Its call to empower people to self care follows recent NHS guidance intended to restrict prescriptions for minor and self-limiting conditions, where effective OTC treatments are available.

“Our research shows almost a third of people (32%) are visiting the GP for minor health concerns, such as a sore throat, when self-care would be much quicker and more convenient for the individual,” said John Smith, chief executive of the PAGB. “This clearly demonstrates a need for these ‘recommendation prescriptions’, which will give people the information they want to be able to self-care with confidence.”

A similar system was introduced in Germany in 2004. The Grüne Rezept (Green Prescription) is used to recommend an appropriate over-the-counter medicine, with costs to be borne by the patient. In 2016, German prescribers issued around 45 million green prescriptions, mainly for coughs and colds, diarrhoea and pain.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2018, Vol 300, No 7913;300(7913):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20204688

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