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Prescription Charges

Volume 264: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the net cost to the national health service, after taking into account reduction in income from prescription charges and savings on the overall national health service drugs budget, of allowing individual pharmacists to offer patients the option of paying the cost price where the drug costs less than the prescription charge. [37048]

[holding answer 16 October 1995]: The current net cost to the national health service in England is estimated to be in the order of £90 million per annum.This estimate is based on an assumption that all chargeable prescription items with a total cost of less than £5.25 would be dispensed privately. There is, however, no reliable way of estimating what proportion of patients and pharmacists might choose this option.In appropriate cases, it is already open to pharmacists to offer patients non "prescription only" items as an alternative to using an NHS prescription and paying the prescription charge.