The full list of drugs scrapped from ‘free’ NHS prescriptions – for 35 minor conditions

THIS is the full list of medications that are no longer available on NHS prescription.

Under drastic cost-saving plans, patients can no longer get paracetamol and other over-the-counter remedies to treat 35 conditions on the health service.

 Doctors are now banned from prescribing paracetamol on the NHS for 35 minor illnesses under drastic plans to save money

Getty – Contributor

Doctors are now banned from prescribing paracetamol on the NHS for 35 minor illnesses under drastic plans to save money

Doctors were banned from routinely doling out treatment for the likes of colds, constipation, dandruff and indigestion from June 1, 2018.

The crackdown – estimated to save almost £100million a year – apply to meds that can be bought in chemists.

This includes treatments for diarrhoea, athletes’ foot, sore throats, coughs, colds, warts and ulcers.

And today, the charge for potentially life-saving prescriptions in England increased again to £9.

Patients have seen the cost rise by 26 per cent since 2010 compared to a rise in average earnings of 16 per cent over the same period.

‘Prioritising resources’

Health chiefs said they needed to “prioritise” limited resources and these ailments can be self-managed or will clear up themselves without drugs.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Across the NHS our aim is to: ‘Think like a patient, act like a taxpayer’.

“The NHS is probably the most efficient health service in the world, but we’re determined to keep pushing further.

“Every pound we save from cutting waste is another pound we can then invest in better A&E care, new cancer treatments and much better mental health services.”

People who get free prescriptions, such as those on low incomes, won’t automatically be exempt from the rules.

But those with long-term or serious illnesses, for which these conditions are side-effects, will continue to get these items on the NHS.

Huge expense

Many of the products included in the cull can be purchased over the counter for a fraction of what it costs the NHS to prescribe them.

It costs the NHS £34 to prescribe a box of 32 paracetamol tablets, including dispensing and GP consultation fees – they cost just 95p in a chemist.

A pack of 12 anti-sickness tablets, for example, costs as little as £2.18 in a chemist but £35 when dispensing fees, GP appointment and admin charges are added.

The NHS spends £22.8million a year on constipation, which is enough to fund around 900 community nurses.

It is not good use of the NHS’s limited resources to issue prescriptions for these products

Dr Graham JacksonNHS Clinical Commissioners

It also runs up a £3million a year bill on athletes’ foot and other fungal infections, which could fund 810 hip replacements.

And £2.1million a year is blown on diarrhoea, which would pay for 2,912 cataract operations.

Dr Graham Jackson, from NHS Clinical Commissioners, said: “It is not good use of the NHS’s limited resources to issue prescriptions for these products.

“We recognise that it may be difficult for some patients who have previously been prescribed these products, but it is right that we prioritise our spending on those that provide the best outcomes.”

REVEALED… the conditions affected by the NHS prescription crackdown

1. Probiotics

2. Vitamins and minerals

3. Acute sore throat

4. Infrequent cold sores of the lip.

5. Conjunctivitis

6. Coughs and colds and nasal congestion

7. Cradle Cap (seborrhoeic dermatitis – infants)

8. Haemorrhoids

9. Infant colic

10. Mild cystitis

11. Mild irritant dermatitis

12. Dandruff

13. Diarrhoea (adults)

14. Dry eyes/sore (tired) eyes

15. Earwax

16. Excessive sweating (Hyperhidrosis)

17. Head lice

18. Indigestion and heartburn

19. Infrequent constipation

20. Infrequent migraine

21. Insect bites and stings

22. Mild acne

23. Mild dry skin

24. Sunburn

25. Sun protection

26. Mild to moderate hay fever/seasonal rhinitis

27. Minor burns and scalds

28. Minor conditions associated with pain, discomfort and/fever. (e.g. aches and sprains, headache, period pain, back pain)

29. Mouth ulcers

30. Nappy rash

31. Oral thrush

32. Prevention of dental caries

33. Ringworm/athletes foot

34. Teething/mild toothache

35. Threadworms

36. Travel sickness

37. Warts and verrucae


John O’Connell, from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers should not be footing the bill for items like anti-dandruff shampoo or athlete’s foot powder.

“Cutting out wasteful spending like this will mean that precious resources can be focused on frontline services.

“Patients too must remember that these items are not ‘free’ – the money comes out of taxpayers’ pockets, so NHS England should be applauded for this move.”

The move follows a vote in 2017 to remove homeopathy, herbal remedies and supplements from the prescription list as part of a review of “wasteful” prescriptions.

NHS England yesterday approved the guidelines at their board meeting in London. It will now be for local health bodies to decide when to implement them.

NHS video explains how to treat a common cold this winter

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours



Leave a Reply