Following the recent increase in the prescription charge from £2.80 to £3.05, we now offer a revised version of the list we published last year (Drug Ther Bull 1989; 27: 41–44) of medicines which cost less over the counter (OTC). This information can save the patient time as well as money. The limitations and pitfalls which we pointed out still apply. The quantity of medicine needed may make OTC purchase dearer in the long run and patients with acute self-limited complaints will find it more useful than those with a chronic or recurrent problem. The latter are of course also more likely to benefit from medical review. As we noted last year, confusion can arise from unfamiliarity with the OTC brands corresponding to a prescription-only medicine and an important secondary use of the list is to help patients to become familiar with the generic names of their medicines.
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