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Generic drugs could save millions

29th December 2006

14032006_PillPackets1s.jpgMillions could be saved through smarter prescribing of cholesterol-lowering statins, the government has said.

The NHS would save more than £85m if there was wider use of the cheaper generic drugs, rather than more expensive branded medicines, said a new report from health ministers.

Almost two million people in the UK use statins, which cost the NHS about £600m a year. The cost has more than doubled in the past five years.

One in four trusts currently prescribe generic statins to more than two-thirds of their patients. If all hospitals followed suit, the savings would be enormous, said ministers.

But experts say brand statins can be substantially stronger, making it dangerous to encourage clinicians to prescribe generic drugs as standard.

The government said it was only asking doctors to consider generic drugs where clinically appropriate.

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