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What are Specials?

Specials are unlicensed medicinal products manufactured in the UK for human use which have been specially prepared to meet a prescription ordered for individual patients without the need for the manufacturer to hold a marketing authorisation for the medicinal product concerned.

The MHRA recommends that unlicensed medicines should only be used when existing licensed medicinal products are not appropriate to meet patient needs and this is also echoed in guidance from the General Medical Council. An example of this situation often arises in paediatric medicine due to smaller or unusual doses being required, which cannot normally be administered using standard solid oral dosage forms. Other examples include patients with difficulty swallowing solid oral dosage forms and patients needing to receive medicines through external feeding tubes.