Patients may no longer be able to get painkillers, cough mixture and eye drops on the NHS as bosses call to axe ‘wasteful’ prescriptions to save money.
Discussions will take place in the new year over restricting prescriptions for treatments that are readily available in pharmacies, supermarkets and petrol stations.
This comes after officials agreed to drop 13 ‘ineffective, over-priced and low-value treatments’, with five therapies only being prescribed in exceptional circumstances.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: ‘The NHS should not be paying for low-value treatments and it’s right that we look at reducing prescriptions for medicines that patients can buy for a fraction of the price the NHS pays.’
Yet, Don Redding, director of policy at National Voices, a coalition of 160 health and care charities, argued: ‘This would risk adversely affecting those people who currently get free prescriptions, which includes some of the most vulnerable in our society and those who are “just about managing”.’