Unlicensed products that are prescribed for individuals to satisfy an individual patient need are called specials. Patients often experience difficulty in either getting prescriptions or in accessing these medications due to huge variations in costs. A Specials Working Group was set up with the aim of addressing this issue. This is an inter-specialty working group representing Dermatology, Paediatrics, Ophthalmology and Palliative Medicine. The aim of this working group is for specials to be added to the Drug Tarriff. The work of the group has led to non-specific primary enabling legislation being put in place. A list of palliative care specials has been approved by the APM and can be found here.
In an effort to empower patients and improve access to their treatment, the Specials Working Group has prepared a template letter which APM members could give to their patients when they prescribe a special. It also provides a hyperlink to a list of NHS specials manufacturers (reproduced with kind permission by the British National Formulary) and other relevant online links. Additionally, the letter will inform and give the patient the possibility of contacting NHS Complaints, if access to their special is denied.