Have your say on the future of ‘over the counter’ medicines

Date exercise ended - Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NHS England has launched a national consultation on proposals to limit the access of prescriptions for ‘over the counter medicines’ such as cough medicines and paracetamol, and is asking the public for their views.

The consultation sets out proposals to end routine prescribing for minor, short-term conditions, many of which will cure themselves or cause no long term effect on health. This includes over the counter remedies for conditions such as dandruff, indigestion, mouth ulcers and travel sickness.

The consultation does not affect prescribing of items for longer term or more complex conditions or where minor illnesses are a side effect of a more serious health condition. For example, if over the counter medicines were needed to treat the side effects of eczema or arthritis, these would continue to be prescribed by your doctor.

NHS England estimates that limiting the prescribing of over the counter medicines for these minor, short-term conditions could free up £136 million of national NHS funds for frontline care.

What do these proposals mean for Sefton residents

The proposals intend to encourage people to self-care for minor and self treatable conditions such as coughs and colds. Many people already do this, buying the products they need from their local supermarket or chemist, and if needed, asking a pharmacist for treatment advice rather than visiting their GP. Not only does this save people a trip to their GP, it also means that they can often start treatment much sooner.

For those people who have a long term or more serious health condition, their GP would continue to prescribe the over the counter products they need.

However, these are only proposals at the moment and prescribing of these items may not change.

How to get involved

Next steps

Once the national consultation has closed, NHS England will consider the views and feedback that people have shared and decide whether to recommend the introduction of these proposals. The CCG will then consider NHS England’s guidance on this matter.

Further information on the outcomes of the consultation will be published in the coming months.


Visit the ‘How we use your views’ section for examples of where your feedback has informed our work, plans and strategies.