Shropshire pharmacist supports NHS spending on prescriptions

The owner of a Shropshire pharmacy chain is backing doctors in their decision to prescribe over the counter drugs but has also urged patients to consult pharmacists more frequently for treatment of minor ailments.

Martin Lunt, owner of Lunts Pharmacies which has sites in Shrewsbury, Pontesbury and Craven Arms, said by consulting pharmacists for coughs, colds and other minor health issues and buying over the counter treatments patients could help the NHS dramatically reduce its hefty bill for prescriptions.

It comes after recent figures revealed the NHS to be spending millions of pounds on prescriptions for over the counter medicines.

According to NHS data, household brands such as Vaseline, Rennie, Strepsils, Benadryl and Bazuka account for hundreds of thousands of prescriptions every year.

Multivitamins made up 1.33 million prescriptions in 2015, costing more than £3.8 million, according to figures analysed by the Press Association.

Prescriptions for medicines such as Rennie and Gaviscon, which are used to treat digestive problems, amounted to £26 million whilst Calpol accounted for a further 12,605 prescriptions.

Mr Lunt backed doctors in their decision to prescribe over the counter medicines to patients saying: “The doctor’s decision on what to prescribe is based on what is the most suitable and cost effective product available.

“The fact that is also available to buy over the counter should not influence that decision.”

But Mr Lunt added that patients could help to reduce the NHS’s multi-million pound bill for prescriptions by purchasing medicines directly from their pharmacist.

“What these figures highlight is that there are many very effective products available both on the NHS and over the counter.

“Certainly for minor ailments there are some very effective treatments available over the counter and it’s not always necessary for patients to make an appointment with a doctor.

“If more patients sought advice from pharmacists and brought products over the counter it would save them and doctors a lot of time and also go a long way to significantly reducing the amount of money the NHS spends on prescriptions.

“It’s a win win situation for everyone.”

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