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Healthcare Professionals


NEW Specials Booklet 2018

The British Association of Dermatologists' Medicines Working Group is pleased to announce the publication of its latest list of preferred dermatological preparations (Specials).

To download the Specials list please click the booklet picture to the right.


Most prescribing uses licensed medicines whose safety and efficacy are assured. For many common dermatological diseases including psoriasis and eczema, the range of licensed medicines is limited. As a result, Dermatology prescribing may rely significantly on unlicensed creams and ointments (known as ‘Specials’) containing tars, dithranol, salicylic acid, steroids and other active constituents in a range of concentrations and bases. This is of particular concern in primary care where lack of effective price controls and a mechanism to ensure independent scrutiny of product quality has increased costs and concern about standards. To address these concerns, and help optimise quality of care, adherence to the revised British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) list of preferred Specials (2018) is encouraged.

Presentation on specials

BAD Specials Working Group member Dr Richard Logan has kindly shared his slides on specials, presented at the Essential Medical Dermatology event in March 2017.

Template letter to accompany specials prescription

In an effort to empower dermatology patients and improve access to their treatment, the Specials Working Group has prepared a template letter which BAD members could give to their patients when they prescribe a special. It also provides 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 and/or their MPs, if access to their special is denied. 

Survey on shortages of medication or medical devices

To help track changes in access to medications in the UK, and to help inform other prescribers of any such change, we have developed a short, open-ended survey on Survey Monkey. We would be grateful if members of the BAD could complete it if they notice problems with patients getting access to the medications they need. It is also very useful to know of medications becoming available again. More info here.

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