Ending Silk PJ Prescriptions & Other Low Evidence Treatments 

Nicky Broyd

November 28, 2018

NHS England is to consult on plans to stop funding more low evidence treatments, including silk clothes for people with dermatitis and eczema and emollient bath and shower products.

Already it has ordered an end to the prescribing of 18 low value items which are available over the counter, such as paracetamol and cough mixture, used to treat minor conditions.

Eight Products

There are eight items NHS England is planning to stop funding:

  • Silk garments – because of their low clinical effectiveness.

  • Bath and shower emollient preparations to be substituted with 'leave-on' emollients.

  • Aliskiren – for blood pressure, because of a lack of evidence to determine its suitability for use in resistant hypertension.

  • Amiodarone – used to treat abnormal heart rhythms. NHS England is advising it is no longer initiated in primary care for any new patient.

  • Dronedarone – used to treat atrial fibrillation. No longer to be prescribed in primary care for any new patient.

  • Minocycline – for acne because of an increased risk of adverse effects.

  • Expensive blood glucose testing strips for type 2 diabetes to be replaced with cheaper but equally effective products. Prescribers in primary care should not initiate blood glucose testing strips that cost >£10 for 50 for any new patient.

  • Expensive needles for pre-filled and reusable insulin pens for diabetes to be replaced with the most cost-effective option. Primary care prescribers should not initiate insulin pen needles that cost >£5 per 100 for any new diabetes patient.

It's predicted the changes could save the NHS almost £70 million a year.

New regulations come into force next week on gluten-free products restricting prescriptions to bread and gluten-free baking mixes.

In a prepared statement NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, said: "The NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world but, as part of the long-term plan for the NHS, we’re determined to make taxpayers' money go further and drive savings back into frontline care.

"It is essential the NHS should not be paying for anything which has been proven to be ineffective or where there are safer or cheaper alternatives."


The national consultation is open to all CCGs, the public and patients, and any relevant interest group or body. 

It'll be open for 3 months from 28th November 2018 until 28th February 2019.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: