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Sunday 20th May 2018

NHS drug bill must be cut

17th January 2008

MPs have called for more action to be taken to limit NHS spending on prescription drugs in England.

Drugs & Money

Latest figures show that has doubled from £4bn to £8.2bn a year in the last 10 years and now MPs want to see wider use of generic drugs instead of the more expensive branded drugs.

The matter was raised before the Commons public accounts committee, which also said that a move to print the cost of drugs on packets could reduce levels of waste by patients.

Following a survey which showed that about 20% of GPs admitted to being more influenced by drug firms than NHS advisers on prescribing, MPs has said they want to see this influence reduced and have GPs declare gifts and hospitality.

Committee chairman Edward Leigh said about a quarter of primary care expenditure is on drugs and added: “Efficient management by the Department of Health and NHS bodies can however make the drugs bill more affordable without affecting patient care.?

The Royal College of General Practitioners acknowledged many of the recommendations were sensible and that GPs could do better.

But prescribing spokesman Dr Jim Kennedy added: “I would point out that GPs here have the best record for using generic versions of drugs.?

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry denied that doctors are unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry.

ABPI director general Dr Richard Barker said: “Not only is the UK the poor relation of comparable countries worldwide in terms of prescribing new, innovative medicines but we also have the highest prescribing rates for generics.?


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