Prescribing of medication available to purchase over the counter in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group does not support the prescribing of medication that is available to buy from local pharmacies or supermarkets for children or adults with common illnesses and minor ailments that they could treat themselves at home. 

The medications listed below are examples of medicines that should be purchased by the patient/parent/guardian. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Moisturising creams, gels, ointments and balms for dry skin with no diagnosis
  • Hay fever remedies eg. antihistamines, nasal sprays (patients over 18yrs)
  • Bath oils and shower gel (unless recommended by a specialist for infected atopic eczema)
  • Vitamins and supplements eg. low dose vitamin D (less than 2,000units), I-Caps, multivitamins
  • Anti-infl ammatory gels eg ibuprofen gel
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Anti-diarrhoeal medication for short term diarrhoea (less than 72hrs)
  • Lubricating eye drops and chloramphenicol eye drops and eye ointment (patients over 2yrs)
  • Paracetamol and ibuprofen for short term use
  • Laxatives for short term use (less than 72 hours)
  • Nasal douches eg Sterimar
  • Antifungal preparations eg Canesten
  • Head lice treatments
  • Threadworm tablets
  • Haemorrhoidal preparations eg Anusol
  • Antiperspirants
  • Cough and cold remedies
  • Medicated shampoos eg Alphosyl, Capasal
  • Mouthwash eg Corsodyl
  • Indigestion remedies eg Gaviscon, Peptac

The reasons for this are as follows:

• Patients are responsible for looking after themselves and their children where possible and for treating self-limiting minor ailments with support from their local pharmacy if needed.
• Patients should keep a small supply of simple treatments in their own medicine cabinet so they are able to manage minor ailments at home. These should be kept secured from young children.
• All these medicines are widely available from supermarkets and pharmacies at reasonable cost.
• Many of these treatments are more expensive when prescribed on the NHS compared to when they are purchased in pharmacies or supermarkets. For example, paracetamol is approximately four times as expensive on prescription.
• The NHS belongs to everybody and the CCG must ensure that its resources are used in the best possible way for all patients.

Patient queries or complaints

Any patient queries or complaints should be directed to the Patient Experience Team on 0800 279 2535 or

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