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Definitions and Criteria for Categorisation of Medicines

Further information regarding the process for review and categorisation, including devices, can be found in the Policy for the Pan Mersey Area Prescribing Committee.

Categorisation of Medicines

Key to recommendations

Red Drugs which should be prescribed only by a specialist clinician.

Amber medicines are considered suitable for primary care prescribing following varied levels of specialist input.

  • AMBER Recommended requires specialist assessment and recommendation to GP to prescribe in Primary Care.
  • AMBER Initiated requires specialist initiation of prescribing. Prescribing to be continued by the specialist until stabilisation of the dose and the patient’s condition is achieved and the patient has been reviewed by the specialist.
  • AMBER Patient Retained requires specialist initiation of prescribing. Prescribing to be continued by specialist until stabilisation of the dose and the patient’s condition is achieved and the patient had been reviewed by the specialist. Patient remains under the care of specialist (ie not discharged) as occasional specialist input may be required.

PURPLE Medicines are considered suitable for Primary Care prescribing and/or management, following specialist initiation of therapy, with on-going communication between the Primary Care prescriber and specialist, within the framework of a Shared Care Agreement.

GREY These medicines are still being evaluated according to local processes and a decision on whether to commission their use has not yet been made. They should not be prescribed in any setting.

BLACK Medicines not recommended for use because of lack of evidence of clinical effectiveness, cost prioritisation or concerns over safety.

GREEN Medicines for which primary care prescribers would normally take full responsibility for prescribing and monitoring. Green status does not imply that a medicine is superior to existing first-line drugs or is a recommended formulary choice.

Cost comparison charts

Cost comparison charts

The Regional Drugs and Therapeutics Centre (RDTC) is a non commercial, not for profit NHS organisation hosted by the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust.

Established in 1991 the multi-disciplinary team, comprising of pharmacists, physicians, scientists and support staff aim to promote the safe, effective and economical use of medicines within the NHS across the North of England through the provision of high quality information and expert advice.