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pills2November 4 2015

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is asking for comments on guidance it is updating for prescribers of the unlicensed medicines known as specials medicines.

Guidance for use in any care setting was initially issued in 2012 by the National Prescribing Centre and NICE for people prescribing specials. “At the request of NICE, we are updating and publishing the guidance on behalf of all the prescribing professions and are keen to ensure that prescribers, and their representative bodies and regulators, as well as patients have the opportunity to comment on the updated guidance,” said the RPS.

‘Prescribing Specials: Guidance for the prescribers of Specials’ is intended for use by all prescribers to help optimise treatment for patients for whom no suitable licensed medicine is available. Although it focuses on specials medicines, the principles it contains are considered “broadly applicable to the prescribing of other unlicensed medicines.”

The updated guidance has retained the basis of five key principles:

  • establish a clinical need
  • understand the patient’s experience and make a shared decision
  • identify medicines and preparations
  • monitor and review
  • ensure effective prescribing governance

In addition, the new draft includes a number of case studies which include key learning points illustrating the sorts of challenges that need to be met to ensure patients receive optimal treatment. Other updates reflect regulatory changes, changes in clinical practice and the changing NHS environment.

“The use of specials presents the NHS and patients with specific challenges, particularly when patients move between care settings. The importance of ensuring that patients and prescribers are aware of the complexities and risks associated with transferring the prescribing and supply of specials across settings is given more emphasis in this guidance,” says the draft document.

“Communication between prescribers and pharmacy colleagues also receives more emphasis encouraging pharmacists and prescribers to work together to ensure that patients are prescribed specials appropriately and supported adhere to their treatment.”

Later this month, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is also expecting to publish updated guidance for pharmacists on the procurement and supply of specials.

Comments on the draft guidance for specials prescribing should be submitted to the RPS by December 14.

Links:

RPS announcement

RPS ‘Prescribing Specials: Guidance for the prescribers of Specials’ draft

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