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Prescriptions

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL6037, tabled on 5 March 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of NHS England’s proposals to restrict prescriptions for medicines that can be purchased over the counter on the health and well-being of those on low incomes.

Answered on

14 March 2018

As part of the NHS England consultation, Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: A consultation on guidance for CCGs, NHS England has published a full Equality and Health Inequalities Impact Assessment which covers groups protected by the Equality Act 2010 and those people on low income and ethnic minorities. A copy of the document, Equality and Health Inequalities – Full Analysis Form – Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care, is attached.

In the summer months most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on the skin. It is also found in some foods – oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods, such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals.

The Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances states that vitamins and minerals should be prescribed only in the management of actual or potential vitamin or mineral deficiency, and are not to be prescribed as dietary supplements. We understand that NHS England’s current consultation is in line with this. Prescribing vitamin D for maintenance would be classed as a treatment for prevention or as a dietary supplement.