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Plans to increase use of generic medicines

6th January 2010

The Department of Health has said it will put out proposals for public consultation concerning increasing the use of generic medication in England.

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The DH wants to encourage the use of non-branded prescription medicines as they are less expensive than branded ones.

The proposals will be available for public consultation over the next three months.

Generic drugs have to contain identical "active ingredients" to those provided in branded ones, but usually cost considerably less.

The health service currently pays out around £9 billion annually on branded medication in the UK.

According to the terms of an agreement between the government and the pharmaceutical industry set out in 2009, health service spending on branded medicines will be reduced by an average of 5% annually for five years.

At present around 83% of prescriptions given out by the health service are for generic medicines, although MPs want this figure to increase to 88%.

Health Minister Mike O'Brien said: "We want to make sure that patients and taxpayers are getting the best medicines at the best price."

"Where clinically appropriate, it is only sensible to allow more expensive branded products to be substituted with the same generic medicines which are just as effective as the branded version."

 

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