NHS England has set out plans to curb the prescribing of a further group of ‘low priority’ items such as silk garments and bath oils in a move to cut costs by up to £70m a year.

NHS England has already ordered an end to the routine prescribing of homeopathic products and a raft of OTC products used to treat 35 minor self-limiting illnesses

The latest consultation is asking for views on:

  • Products that are deemed to be of relatively low clinical effectiveness
  • Items which are clinically effective but where more cost-effective items are available
  • Items which are clinically effective but, due to the nature of the item, are deemed a low priority for NHS funding.

The items are:

  • Silk garments
  • Aliskiren – used to treat blood pressure
  • Amiodarone – used to treat abnormal heart rhythms
  • Bath and shower emollient preparations
  • Dronedarone – used to treat atrial fibrillation
  • Minocycline – used to treat acne
  • Blood glucose testing strips for type 2 diabetes
  • Needles for Pre-Filled and Reusable Insulin Pens for diabetes

The proposed recommendations on glucose testing strips and needles are focused on substitution for cheaper, but equally effective products, not a reduction in prescribing of these items, says NHS England. Insulin pen needles vary in cost from £3.95 to £30.08 for 100 and strips range in price from £5.45 to £16.53 for 50. The aim is to ensure consistency across the country and encourage commissioners and prescribers to consider the more cost-effective options.

The consultation will run for three months until February 28 2019, after which joint commissioning guidance is expected to be published by NHS England and NHS Clinical Commissioners.

Originally Published by Pharmacy Magazine

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