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PSNC advises contractors on dispensing antivirals

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PSNC advises contractors on dispensing antivirals

PSNC has advised contractors about endorsing prescriptions for, and ordering stock of, antiviral medicines.

The guidance follows publication of a letter from the Department of Health advising that primary care prescribers can now prescribe antivirals at NHS expense for the prophylaxis and treatment of influenza, in accordance with NICE guidance and the Selected List Scheme (SLS) in Part XVIIIB of the England and Wales Drug Tariff.

Prescriptions written generically or by brand for oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza), the antivirals included in the SLS list, without an 'SLS' endorsement should not be dispensed and will not be passed for payment. Pharmacy staff cannot make the ‘SLS’ endorsement themselves.

PSNC has urged contractors not to over order stocks of antiviral medicines, which could result in  supply chain shortages. But it pointed out that oseltamivir for adults and children and zanamivir for adults should taken within 48 hours of onset of symptoms. Children aged five and over and under 13 years of age should start taking zanamivir within 36 hours of onset of symptoms to obtain maximum benefit.


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