A public consultation on over the counter items – December 20, 2017 – March 14, 2018 NOW CLOSED

This consultation is now CLOSED

Read the guidance published by NHS England following the public consultation.


NHS England launched a 12 week public consultation on December 20, 2017 looking at 33 minor and short-term health ‘conditions for which over the counter items should not be prescribed in primary care’.

In the year prior to June 2017, the NHS spent approximately £569 million on prescriptions for medicines which can be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy and other outlets such as supermarkets.

These prescriptions include items for a condition:

  • That is considered to be self-limiting and so does not need treatment as it will heal of its own accord;
  • Which lends itself to self-care, i.e. that the person suffering does not normally need to seek medical care but may decide to seek help with symptom relief from a local pharmacy and use an over the counter medicine.

If you wish to watch the video with subtitles click the button to the left of the cog at the bottom of the video

Vitamins/minerals and probiotics have also been included in the consultation proposals as items of low clinical effectiveness which are of high cost to the NHS.

NHS England has partnered with NHS Clinical Commissioners to carry out the consultation. The intention is to produce a consistent, national framework for CCGs to use. NHS Walsall CCG is supporting NHS England with this consultation.


Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the commissioning guidance will need to be taken into account by all CCGs in adopting or amending their own local guidance to GPs in primary care.

The aim of this consultation is to provide you with information about the proposed national guidance and to seek your views about the proposals.

A number of free events and webinars are also took place during the consultation, which were open to the public.The CCG also held an event on February 20, 2018 where members of the public were invited to attend to learn more about the consultation.

Supporting documents

Consultation Document


Press Release