GPs waste £85m a year by prescribing expensive drugs - Independent
"GPs could save £85m by more systematic prescribing of lower cost, generic forms of more-expensive brand-name drugs, according to the report by the National Audit Office (NAO).
However, more savings could be made by reducing the number of drugs prescribed each time by the GPs and by keeping abreast of the cheaper drugs available to treat the same conditions, said the report.
"We found that drugs wastage is a significant cost for the NHS: at least £100m a year, and perhaps considerably more than this," the report added.
The findings could see Gordon Brown order a renewed drive to reduce the NHS drugs bill, which is up to £22m a day for prescriptions in primary care alone, excluding hospitals. The NAO said the Department of Health should carry out a survey of residual drugs including those left in medicine cabinets for a more accurate estimate of the scale of medicines wastage.
One of the problems in tackling the waste on drugs, highlighted in the report, was the influence of the drug companies on GPs through their use of marketing. They are investing £850m a year on pushing products to doctors. GPs, surveyed by the NAO, said it was difficult to assimilate all the information they received on prescribing, and many were influenced by what the drug companies told them."
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