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Vitamin B12

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 133092, tabled on 30 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Welsh Government, (b) NHS England and (c) people with B12 deficiency on removing the classification of Prescription Only Medicine from injectable vitamin B12 and making B12 injectables available over the counter at pharmacies.

Answered on

27 January 2021

Vitamin B12 is only available as an injection and therefore must be classified as prescription only under the regulations as suitable training needs to be given for its administration. The condition for which it is prescribed also means the product must be classified as a prescription only medicine and therefore no further assessment has been made of the potential merits of making these products available over the counter. Patients are prescribed vitamin B12 for pernicious anaemia and need medical input to diagnose, monitor their condition and treat it appropriately.

Formal discussions have therefore not been held with the Welsh Government or NHS England on the reclassification of vitamin B12. Officials have responded to patient enquiries to explain the rationale for the classification of this medicine as they have arisen.