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Volume and cost of special order products

Some patients have certain clinical needs that can’t be met by licensed medicinal products. The law allows the manufacture and supply of unlicensed medicines which are called special orders (or specials) that meet these clinical needs. Special orders must be produced in the UK by manufacturers who hold a Specials License issued by the MHRA.

We provide information about prescribing of special order products in general practice in England. Using data source ePACT2.

National top 500 special order products

Quarterly data from June 2018 to March 2022:Top 500 special order products by Items/NIC (Excel: 673KB)

National charts and data

Trends in prescribing and spending in the last 25 months:

Please note that this data is updated up to December 2020. 

National charts and data - Prescribing of and Spending on special order products (Excel: 67KB)

CCG level information

Comparison of spending on Special Order products using the latest available quarterly data.

Please note that this data is updated up to December 2020. 

CCG / STP charts - Spending on special order products (Excel: 238KB)

CCG prescribing and spending for the latest available 25 months.

CCG data - Prescribing of and spending on special order products  (Excel: 115KB)

Comparison of spending on special order products for the latest available quarterly data.

CCG data - Comparison of spending on special order products (Excel: 27KB)

What the data takes into account

Product Information

The data includes Special Order Products listed in Part VIIIB and Part VIIID of the Drug Tariff and non- Drug Tariff Special Order Products.

Some special order items may be "imported" but are listed as Special Order Products as NHS Prescription Services do not hold an indicator for "imported" items on our internal systems.

Changes to the reimbursement of special order products

With effect from November 2011 prescriptions, certain special order products have been reimbursed according to Drug Tariff Part VIIIB Arrangements for Payment for Specials and Unlicensed Medicines. This means that certain products formerly categorised as special order products are now categorised as Drug Tariff Special Order Products.

Any products indicated (Old) are those items that were previously Special Order Products but are now available either as Drug Tariff Special Order or licensed products.

Any products indicated (DT Old) are those items that are no longer a Drug Tariff Special Order but are still considered to be a Special Order Product or available as a licensed product.

With effect from March 2022 prescriptions, there is an addition to the Drug Tariff. Drug Tariff Part VIIID Arrangements for payment for Specials and Imported Unlicensed Medicines with Prices Determined Relative to Commonly Identified Pack Size. This means that certain products formerly categorised as special order products are now categorised as Part VIIID Drug Tariff Special Order.

Also please note as of March 2022 prescriptions, Drug Tariff Special Order products will show in the data as Part VIIIB Drug Tariff Special Order.

For further information and a list of products, refer to the Drug Tariff Part VIIIB Arrangements for Payments for Specials and Unlicensed Medicines and Part VIIID Arrangements for payment for Specials and Imported Unlicensed Medicines or select the appropriate month.