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Am I entitled to over the counter medecine by prescription

(27 Posts)
reluctantmpvdriver Tue 16-Nov-10 15:50:06

My DS has ear ache but it is quite mild and the doctor has told me to give him paracetomol and ibupropen. The doctor has refused however to give me a prescription for the medicine . The Doctor says that he has not prescribed an over the counter medicine in over 12 years and was quite adamant. I don't understand this. Does anyone know if a child is entitled by law to a free prescription if a doctor has advised that over the counter pain medication should be given? I feel that it is wrong of him to refuse a prescription - although not an issue for me some people would struggle to pay for the drugs. It is also a problem for me however as my son's school will not allow him to carry non prescription medicine. Thanks

AMumInScotland Tue 16-Nov-10 15:54:51

Doctors don't usually prescribe medicines which can be bought over the counter, though some will do it if they know you get free prescriptions and wouldn't be able to afford them otherwise.

I think there's also a scheme which lets low income familieis get them free from the pharmacy, though usually generic not brand name versions.

If the GP had told you to go home and have a paracetamol, would you expect him to give you a prescription for them?

lyra41 Tue 16-Nov-10 15:56:02

My doctor prescribes liquid paracetamol etc.as all children are entitled to free meds. I had one gp be a bit reluctant to do this, but I insisted and in the end she prescribed it. Not sure of the legal situation however.

reluctantmpvdriver Tue 16-Nov-10 16:02:12

I do see you point but for some the issue would be the money - what happens to them? The generic medecines cost me over £8. It is odd as well as they always prescribe calpol for my much younger baby if needed without any question.

For me however the issue is that the doctor said it would take a few days to get better but that he should be fine to go back to school with some paracetamol. I am happy to take his advice on that but I can't send my son to school with any non prescription medecine. So that means that my son has to stay off school for some days unecessarily .

going Tue 16-Nov-10 16:04:53

If you give your son some neurofen just before he goes into school it should last the whole of the school day.

I have never been given kids piankillers on prescription and would ask for it either. It's a basic we always have at home.

Milliways Tue 16-Nov-10 16:51:50

Most GPs will not prescribe for Calpol etc as it is readily available and the NHS can't afford to provide this for all children.

I DID get paracetamol prescribed once for DS though, when the chemist refused to keep selling me more and DS needed constant painkillers (he ended up on diazepam, but took a while to build up, we started on paracetamol + diclofenac).

snowmash Tue 16-Nov-10 17:59:36

Not entitled to - as others have said, some GPs will if they know you are on a very low income.

Without knowing the age of your ds vs your much younger baby, it's hard to comment on the age issues.

A1980 Tue 16-Nov-10 22:55:58

Is this a joke?

Calpol or Nurofen for Children costs about £3.30 for a whole bottle and you want it free? It will cost the NHS £7.20 for you DS to have it free when he is neither gravely ill and not in significant pain.

As for this question:
Does anyone know if a child is entitled by law to a free prescription if a doctor has advised that over the counter pain medication should be given?

As a clinical negligence solicitor my department is fed up to the back teeth of precious parents telephoning us regarding this. No there is no legal entitlement, go and buy it. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh but it's the reality.

elphabadefiesgravity Tue 16-Nov-10 23:04:12

No it doesn't cost the NHS £7.20 - that is what is costs people who pay for prescription medicines.

The school issue is also important. I think that you should be entitled to it and in fact some pharmacies are able to give it to you free if they are part of a particular scheme.

A1980 Tue 16-Nov-10 23:06:01

Actually is does. It costs the NHS £7.20 for the prescription charge whether or not it is paid for.

I've worked as a clin neg lawyer for years, we do know these things.

Meglet Tue 16-Nov-10 23:11:39

Actually my DC's nursery will give calpol if it's on prescription but not for any other reasons (teething etc). So I see your point about not being able to send your DC to school unless he has a prescription.

Once mine have calpol they are usually bouncing off the walls and up for anything.

MumInBeds Tue 16-Nov-10 23:12:53

I remember when my eldest (now 11) had his 8 weeks jabs I got given a prescription for paracetamol syrup and was told by the nurse to make the most of it as it was the only time they give a prescription for it.

Ghoulysses Tue 16-Nov-10 23:16:08

I'm in Scotland and you can sign up to a Minor Ailments Scheme if you register at your local pharmacy on behalf of your son. This gives you things like Paracetemol (Calpol but not IYSWIM) and I once got head lice lotion and a nitty gritty comb off it.

ChunkyPickle Tue 16-Nov-10 23:16:12

Hang on - Ibuprofen and Paracetamol cost you 8 pounds? You were done over!

Tablets are only about 15p and the liquid 2 quid for paracetamol, and for Ibuprofen similar (I seem to remember the pills are about 30p)

So even if you got liquid for both that's still only 4 quid.

I can't imagine why a doctor would prescribe something so cheap, unless you're going to be going through so many that you need the bulk packs.

snowmash Tue 16-Nov-10 23:23:39

'Free' prescriptions are there to improve concordance/compliance...so if a GP thinks you're not going to give the medicine unless they prescribe it and it is very clinically needed, they may well prescribe OTC meds.

Another reason is quantity needed/off-label prescribing.

It sounds like you were being told 'fine to care for at home, self-limiting mild illness' - so would you feel the same about other measures that make self-limiting illnesses more comfortable for dc?

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 16-Nov-10 23:26:24

I've known people who have had calpol (equivalent) on prescription, as I know her nursery wouldn't give it unless it was prescribed.

Yes, I know most of us can afford to buy it, but surely there should be exceptions made for those who can't. It seems a bit unfair that some GPs will prescribe it and others won't- surely there should be some standard/ criteria?

Keziahhopes Tue 16-Nov-10 23:33:58

Could you ask your gp for a brief note for school saying that as a gp the painkilling medication is prescribed by them but has to be bought privately.. that means child can go to school with painkiller and it only takes a minute or two to write that note on headed paper (or get a secretary to do so), which seems to be the issue.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 16-Nov-10 23:38:41

DS was prescribed Fenpaed, which is an ibuprofen suspesion IIRC, when he had a dodgy hip. I didn't ask for it.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 16-Nov-10 23:39:58

He did however keep taking the max dose for longer than would be recommended on a Calprofen bottle for example. Perhaps that's why?

snowmash Tue 16-Nov-10 23:48:39

Paracetamol mixture BP is worth asking for (at a pharmacy) if money is tight. You can ask if they sell generic ibuprofen liquid too.

Some areas do a Minor Ailments Scheme or service here or here - but in England it's dictated by PCTs, not GPs.

GPs can get the PCT landing on them like a tonne of bricks if their prescribing is deemed inappropriate. That said, when I have been very low income, GPs have generally offered prescriptions for OTC meds.

snowmash Wed 17-Nov-10 18:37:14

TheFallenMadonna yes, that's different, you're right - as you say, the OTC bottles say to give for a few days and then go to the doc etc.

reluctantmpvdriver Wed 17-Nov-10 20:25:01

To be clear A1823 for me there is no money issue - the issue is that my son cannot go to school because of this - now been off 2 days and its likely to be three tomorrow as he is in too much pain to be fair to send him without some medecine . I asked him if he would write a note but he said 'we don't get involved in that sort of thing'.

But while not an issue for me, I don't think that we should dismiss the money issue at all - some are in genuine need and the rules need to be clear so that people in need know what they are entitled to. The doctor should not be allowed to act as judge and jury over what he thinks you can afford .

And the prescribing practices for OTC medecine are erratic/ arbitary as far as I can see. Last week I was given a prescription for canestan - so what was that about? I can buy this over the counter so why did the doctor give me this prescription (enabling me to get canestan free (assuming that I'm entitled)) when I can buy it over the counter - while refusing my 9 year old free painkillers! I can't see the logic myself A1823 - can you explain the position - a clinical negligence lawyer must understand the legal position that underpins prescribing practice?

reluctantmpvdriver Wed 17-Nov-10 20:27:19

Sorry - I meant to address A1980 - not the fictitious A1823!

A1980 Thu 18-Nov-10 23:50:40

There are simply no legal grounds to argue for free over the counter medicines. I'm sorry but that's the way it is.

Also, nurofen for children lasts for 8 hours. Give him some just before school and some when he gets home. He can go to school if you do that. So there is no need to keep him off school or take medicine with him if you go and buy the nurofen.

Another poster: 'Going' has already told you about the nurofen and that children's pain killers are a basic essential to keep in the house at all times, but I see you've chosen to ignore her post.

It's a little too easy to blame someone else and over complicate matters when there is an easy solution: such as giving him a long lasting medicine you can buy cheaply and is readily available.

PixieOnaLeaf Fri 19-Nov-10 00:00:28

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