NHS spend £442m on painkillers8th November 2011
According to new research last year the health service in England paid out more than £440 million on painkillers.
The data analysis company SSentif used information from the Office for National Statistics and the NHS Information Centre and found there were large variations on the amount spent on painkilling medication between trusts.
Some GPs also spent thousands prescribing name brand medication such as Lemsip.
The average spend for a health trust in England was £8.80 per head of population on painkillers.
However in some southern areas it was £3.26 per head while in the north some areas went up to £15 per head.
The trusts which spent the most were Rochdale, Hartlepool, Blackpool and Middlesborough, where the average bills for primary care trusts were £2.3 million.
This amount is more than twice that paid out in Westminster, Camden, Richmond and Twickenham.
Judy Aldred, managing director of SSentif, said that spending on painkillers in the NHS had shown a steady increase.
"At the moment, the responsibility for the prescribing budget lies with primary care trusts but this is about to change. PCTs are phasing out and GPs are being given greater responsibility, including the management of their own prescribing budgets."
"Although the figures involved were comparatively low, it was concerning to see products such as Lemsip and even Alka-Seltzer XS offered on prescription. When GPs begin shouldering the responsibility for prescribing costs, it will be interesting to see if this continues."
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