If this bulletin does not display correctly click here to view in your browser

NoECSU Prescribing Newsletter
Visit the website

NHS North of England Commissioning Support (NECS) prescribing newsletter - March 2014
Pharmacy Management National Forum (North) event on behalf of NECS
Pharmacy Management National Forum (North) event on behalf of NECS

A whole day event is being held, Wednesday 7 May, at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Hotel, Bottle Bank, Gateshead, NE8 2AR entitled “Medicines Management to Medicines Optimisation - the Journey Continues”.

The seminar will feature presentations and satellite sessions from the Pharmacy Management National Forum. There will also be a presentation from Clare Howard, NHS England's Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer.

For more information please click here, further details and a finalised agenda will be available soon.  

To book your delegate place at the event, please contact Lorraine Hawes at lorraine.hawes@pharman.co.uk.

My Medicines My Health green medicine bag campaign
My Medicines My Health green medicine bag campaign

CCGs are working with other NHS organisations across the North East in promoting, investing and implementing the My Medicines, My Health campaign. As part of this campaign practices have received a resource pack containing leaflets, posters and Green Medicine Bag. 

Read more >
The Earlier The Better
The Earlier The Better

A national advertising campaign will run for eight weeks from 20 January 2014, and focuses on getting advice ‘The earlier. The better.’ to prevent conditions from becoming worse.  It will target the over 45s through a range of channels, and the over 60s through their friends, family and carers.

For more information please click here.

Antibiotics update

Non-prescription pads, posters and window stickers were distributed to GP practices and community pharmacies in November as part of the KEEP CALM AND LOOK AFTER YOURSELF campaign to help patients manage common winter illnesses. 

The campaign includes a dedicated website www.keepcalmthiswinter.org.uk  with information on common winter illnesses, what the symptoms are, how to treat them, how long they will last.

If you need more non –prescription pads, please contact your NECS Medicines Optimisation Team.


Read more >
Locality Medicines Optimisation updates


Important information regarding March 2014 BNFs

NICE will not be purchasing the March 2014 edition for nationwide distribution to NHS health professionals in England. It is moving to one annual print distribution per year, in addition to the availability via its website and app

NICE is currently conducting a public consultation on its vision for an enhanced BNF service.  The consultation will run until 31 March 2014. 

Click here for more information.

Individual clinicians wishing to purchase a copy can purchase the book online, call 01256-302699 or email direct@macmillan.co.uk

Product updates and price changes

Key price changes this month:

  • Vitamin B tablets
  • Prednisoline 5mg soluble tablets
  • Co-careldopa 25/100mg MR tablets
  • Salbutamol 4mg and 2mg tablets
Read more >
Combined hormonal contraceptives: safety reminder

The MHRA has written to prescribers following a review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which concluded that the benefits of the contraceptives outweighed the risks, but advised prescribers to consider how the risk of VTE with a particular product compares with others.

The letter reminds prescribers of the “importance of an individual women’s risk factors and the need to regularly assess them, and raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of VTE and ATE which should be described to women when a CHC is prescribed”.

Further information about the review and the risk of VTE with CGCs is available in the February Drug Safety Update, which contains links to patient information leaflets.

Reminder: simvastatin contraindications and maximum doses

Simvastatin is contraindicated with concomitant use of certain medicines, such as ciclosporin, danazol or gemfibrozil.  In addition the recommendations for the maximum dose of simvastatin have changed when used with a number of other medicines, including amlodipine and diltiazem. 

The maximum recommended dose of simvastatin co-administered with amlodipine or diltiazem is now 20mg per day.  More information is availbale here.


Changes to NICE recommendations for omega-3

Prescribing of omega-3 acid ethyl esters (Omacor® and Prestylon®) is no longer recommended by NICE for secondary prevention of MI.

NICE (CG172) state “do not routinely recommend eating oily fish for the sole purpose of preventing another MI.  If people after an MI choose to consume oily fish, be aware that there is no evidence of harm, and fish may form part of a Mediterranean-style diet.

Do not offer or advise people to use the following to prevent another MI:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid capsules
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplemented foods

If people choose to take omega-3 fatty acid capsules of eat omega-3 fatty acid supplemented foods, be aware that there is no evidence of harm.”

Between April and September 2013 North East and Cumbria CCGs spent £248,000 on Omacor® and Prestylon® prescribing.

NICE CG172: MI – secondary prevention: Secondary prevention in primary and secondary care for patients following a myocardial infarction

RDTC: Primary care prescribing of omega-3 acid ethyl esters capsules


At its meeting in November the Northern Clinical Commissioning Group Forum (NCCGF) approved a proposal to establish the Northern England NHS Treatment Advisory Group (N-TAG).

N-TAG will be answerable to CCG Chief Officers via the Northern CCG Forum. N-TAG will also link to the Northern England Clinical Senate and will report to the Clinical Senate Assembly.

The group is established to collaboratively agree on and to collectively advise the relevant member clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) on which new and existing non-NICE and non-specialised (NHS England) treatments, including non-drug treatments, should be made available for their patient populations.

The group will not consider treatments which are the responsibility of NHS England via specialised commissioning arrangements or treatments for indications which have been subject to a NICE technology appraisal or for which technology appraisal guidance is expected within six months of the next scheduled N-TAG meeting. Treatment recommendations from N-TAG will have advisory status only.  

Read more >
Did you know...

The following drug prices have increased hugely over the past year:

  • Senna 7.5mg tablets now cost £12.64 for 60 tablets
  • Salbutamol tablets cost £68.20 for 28 x 2mg and £69.83 for 28 x 4mg
  • Vitamin B compound tablets now cost £21.23 for 28 tablets

60 senna tablets now cost £12.64 to prescribe (February 2014 Drug Tariff), compared with £2.83 in February 2013.

Salbutamol tablets 2mg and 4mg have increased hugely in price and now cost £68.20 for 28x2mg and £69.83 for 28x4mg.  For individual patients consider if a salbutamol inhaler could be used.  If necessary salbutamol 2mg/5ml s/f oral solution is an alternative (cost 72p for 150ml). Salbutamol m/r capsules are also available in 4mg and 8mg strengths and are considerably less expensive than standard release tablets.

Vitamin B compound tablets now cost £21.23 for 28 tablets. Consider if Vitamin B compound strong tablets are suitable for patients at the lower price of £2.33 for 28.

NHS North of England Commissioning Support (NECS)
Tel: 0191 374 4121
2012 All Rights Reserved

Unsubscribe from this bulletin

Click here for a printable version of this ebulletin
Forward this bulletin to a friend
Sign up to receive all our latest news and updates