Doctors in Northamptonshire have been told to withhold drugs from patients to save their health trust £40 million.
Local doctors have been told to stop prescribing certain drugs
The drugs include nicotine replacement therapy, two anti-obesity medicines, a remedy for head lice and some gluten-free foods.
A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire Primary Care trust said it was a difficult decision but was better than closing wards or laying off staff.
The British Medical Association said it was unacceptable.
Richard Vautrey from the BMA said: "It is very concerning that a PCT - purely for the expedient need of saving money - is dictating to doctors what they can and cannot prescribe."
He warned: "It leaves the doctor in a very invidious position, potentially at risk of complaints."
The General Medical Council, whose job it is to regulate doctors and ensure good medical practice, said each doctor had a responsibility to make the care of their patients their first concern.
A spokeswoman said: "Doctors have an ethical obligation to raise concerns with their employer if they believe that their ability to care for patients is being hampered by a lack of resources.
"However, we recognise that NHS trusts have to take decisions that enable them to provide a good level of care for the public without wasting resources," she said.
Dr Kamal Sood, chairman of the local medical committee, backed the trust's decision.
He said: "It would be easy to sit in our bunkers...but there's an acknowledgement that when the government says 'you've got to balance your books' they mean it."
He added: "If we don't make these cuts, then other areas would bear it, and that could hit vulnerable and sick people more."