7 over-the-counter items the NHS spends millions of pounds a year prescribing

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The NHS is spending millions of pounds a year on prescriptions for items that can be bought in high street pharmacies.

Household brands such as Vaseline, Rennie, Strepsils, Benadryl and Bazuka account for hundreds of thousands of prescriptions every year, NHS data shows.

The figures for England show multivitamins made up 1.33 million prescriptions in 2015 at a spend of more than £3.8 million.

Here are some of the biggest spends in 2015:

1. Piriton and Piriteze

a woman takes a tablet

Piriton and Piriteze accounted for 276,444 prescriptions at £503,586.

2. Mouthwash

A boy brushes his teeth

Millions of pounds worth of mouthwash was prescribed, with one type available for £2.99 in Superdrug accounting for a £1.8 million spend, and a further £964,399 was spent on Corsodyl.

3. Cold sore treatments

Man with coldsore
Cold sore treatments including Blistex cost more than £23,000.

4. Herbal sleeping pills

Stock sleeping image

Kalms, including herbal sleeping pills, accounted for 2,758 prescriptions at a cost of £6,461. Meanwhile, Nytol accounted for 28,494 at £122,079.

5. Throat sweets

A woman holds her throat

Strepsils, Halls, Throaties and Tyrozets lozenges accounted for more than £25,000 of NHS spending.

6. Teething gels

A mother holds the feet of a baby

Teething gels for babies accounted for more than £38,000 and Infacol colic and wind drops accounted for a £156,486 spend.

7. Headache stick

A woman holds her head

4Head headache relief stick was prescribed 445 times at a cost of £2,534.