What is a 'Special' ?
A 'Special' is the name commonly used for a medicine which does
not have a product licence.
It is often thought that this means a totally new drug which has not yet
been licensed for use because it is still in its clinical trial stage and the
effects are unknown. This may be the case but more usually there are other
reasons why the product is not licensed. The following list gives an example of
some of the more common reasons.
- A medicine which is administered by a route which is different to the
one for which the drug is currently licensed.
- A medicine which has been found to be useful in the treatment of
conditions other than those for which it is licensed.
- A medicine which is given in an unusual strength (for example,
low-dose formulation for children) or which has a special formulation (such as
a sugar-free or preservative-free preparation).
- A medicine where the small use of the product or its very short shelf
life would mean that to obtain a licence would not be commercially viable.
- Older drugs or formulations which have previously been licensed but
that are no longer available for commercial reasons.
- A licensed medicine which is unavailable for some reason at that time
(this is the only time a 'special' can be used in place of a licensed
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- A medicine which is licensed in another country but not in the