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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. We produce charts, maps and data using ePACT2.


National level information

Trends in prescribing and spending in the last 25 months:

National chart - Prescribing of and Spending on special order products (Excel: 126KB)

Top 500 special order products by Items/NIC (Excel: 90KB)


CCG level information

Comparison of prescribing and spending for the latest available quarterly data.CCG maps - Prescribing of and spending on special order products (PDF: 207KB)


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

CCG/Area Team charts - Spending on special order products (Excel: 246KB)


CCG prescribing and spending for the latest available 25 months.

CCG data - Prescribing of and spending on special order products  (Excel: 163KB)

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

CCG data - Comparison of spending on special order products (Excel: 43.1KB)

What the data takes into account

Product tags

Over time, the special order products tag has been updated to incorporate more products. This means that data obtained from ePACT, for a specific time period, will differ from data obtained from the same time period after the tag has been updated. When these charts and data are updated, the most current tag will apply across all time periods.

FP10HP forms

The data includes all NHS prescribing which have been dispensed in the community, except for items prescribed by dentists. Since April 2015, items prescribed on FP10HP forms by hospitals have been included in this data.

Unspec Drug Code (DND)

ePACT users should notice a significant decline in the number of items shown as Unspec Drug Code (DND). The majority of unlicensed products will be captured using the appropriate record on the NHS database. Only products for which no record is held will be captured as DND.

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. From the quarter to December 2011 updates, the charts and data have reflected these changes.

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