All surgeries and health centres in Bradford are now being asked to stop prescribing what they call ‘Over The Counter’ medication – OTC medication for short. The other name used for OTC medication is the General Sales List Medicines. Ashcroft Surgery will also be shortly implementing this – as it is a mandate that all surgeries have to do.
This means that if a medication is sold over the counter by local pharmacies, then you will need to get it from them rather than resorting your your GP for a prescription.
Why is this being done?
- The main reason is that it will save the NHS quite a lot of money – and this is important because especially as the NHS is underfunded and strapped for cash these days – so please complain to your local MP. In the mean time, it is important for us to put measures in place to protect our NHS and help it continue to run for the future – for ourselves and our children. Did you know that something you buy over the counter for a couple of pounds might cost the NHS FIVE or SIX times more! It’s crazy – we know – but it is the truth! If we don’t protect our NHS, we might end up with a system like America, where only those who can afford to pay get the best care. Do you want that?
- This move will also help prevent our appointments being used for little things that you can sort out for yourself. This will help us provide more time and deeper care for patients with complex or serious medical illnesses.
- But the other good news is that you don’t have to sit around ages waiting for a doctor to call you in! You can go to your local pharmacy, get information and advice from them, buy an OTC medication if needed, and get on with your life.
Can you give me some examples of OTC medication?
Here’s a small list of commonly requested items from us that you can buy from your local pharmacy.
OTC medication include things like
- Cough mixtures
- Canesten cream (for thrush or athletes foot/groin)
- Hayfever tablets
- Nit lotion
- Laxatives like Senna or Lactulose (although if your motions have changed, come and see the doctor).
Please try to purchase these items from your local pharmacist rather than resorting to your GP practice.
Two interesting things…
1. Advice on OTC medication – what to take for what illness
A great little webpage which tells you what sorts of over the counter medication can help with what sort of illnesses. Your local pharmacy can advise you further and it means you no longer have to wait for a doctor and can hopefully just get on with your life.
2. Why do the same medicines sometimes have different names?
Many medicines have at least two different names – a brand name and a generic name. The brand name is usually what the medicine is called by the company that first discovered and developed it. The generic name is the name of the active ingredient in the medicine that makes it work.
Initially, for a few years the company that developed the medicine is the only one that can sell it, which means they can choose the price. To make a profit from the very costly development process, this usually means the medicine is very expensive at this point.Generic copies are allowed to be made once this period ends. Generic medicines are usually as effective as the brand-name medicine because they contain the same active ingredients.Generic medicines are used more often for treatment because they are as effective as the original medicine, but cost far less.
Read more about generic and brand-name medicines.