Patients will not be able to receive for free paracetamol and other medications that do not require prescriptions to treat 35 diseases.
In an attempt to save money, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom (NHS) will prohibit doctors from giving patients medications for diseases such as cold, constipation, dandruff and indigestion.
Such drastic measures will help NHS save almost £100 million a year and will affect those medicines that can be purchased at the pharmacy. This includes drugs for the treatment of diarrhea, sore throat, cough, cold, warts and mouth ulcers.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of NHS England, said: "The innovation can be described as "Think as a patient, act as a taxpayer". The NHS is probably the most effective health service in the world, but we want to make it even better. Every pound that we can save is a pound that can be allocated for emergency medical care, cancer treatment and many other important services."
People who receive free recipes, such as low-income families, will not be automatically an exception to the rule. But people with serious or long illnesses, for whom these 37 minor conditions can be called side effects, will continue to receive NHS medications.
The reason for taking such radical measures, in particular, was the fact that many of these drugs can be purchased at a pharmacy at a price much lower than the one they cost the NHS.
For example, the NHS prescribes a box of 32 paracetamol pills for £34, because it pays for a doctor's consultation, administrative expenses, and so on. The same pills will cost only 95 pence in the pharmacy. A pack of 12 pills from nausea costs the NHS at £35, but in a pharmacy a person can buy them for as little as £2.18.
In general, NHS spends £22.8 million per year on the treatment of constipation, although this amount is enough to pay for the services of 900 district nurses. NHS annually allocates £3 million on the foot fungus, although this money would be enough for 810 operations to replace the femur. Another £2.1 million a year goes for diarrhea, although 2912 surgeries for cataract treatment could be carried out.
Dr. Graham Jackson of the NHS Clinical Commissioners said: "This is a misuse of the limited resources of the NHS, and we understand that it will be more difficult for some patients who are accustomed to receiving these medicines, but we need to spend money on the most important things."
John O'Connell of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "Taxpayers should not pay for other people's dandruff shampoos and treatment for foot fungus. Reducing unnecessary expenses such as these, means that the limited finances of the NHS will go to really important services. Patients should remember that they received all these medicines not for free, the money came from the pockets of taxpayers, so NHS England is commendable for this decision."