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Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the cost was of a medicines use review per patient in the most recent year for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of the benefits to patients of such reviews; (156752)

(2) what percentage of medicines use reviews resulted in a change of drug treatment or dosage in 2006;

(3) how many medicines use reviews were conducted in Wirral in 2006; and at what cost;

(4) what factors are considered before a medicines use review is undertaken;

(5) what happens to the drugs prescribed to a patient before a treatment change as a result of a medicines use review.

Medicines use reviews (MUR) aim to improve patients’ knowledge and use of the medicines prescribed for them, through a specific consultation between an accredited pharmacist and the patient. They may be triggered by concerns over patient concordance or where the patient is receiving medicines regularly and the pharmacist thinks a patient may benefit from an MUR. MURs can be conducted with patients on multiple medicines and those with long-term conditions, every 12 months. Primary care trusts (PCTs) can identify patient groups that would particularly benefit from such a review. Routine MURs, initiated by the pharmacist, must only be provided for patients who have been using the pharmacy for the dispensing of prescriptions for at least the previous three months.

The fee payable to accredited pharmacies providing this service increased from £23 to £25 per MUR from 1 October 2006, and from £25 to £27 per MUR from 1 October 2007.

In 2006-07, accredited pharmacies in the area covered by Wirral Primary Care Trust were paid £100,185 for providing 4,091 MURs. The Prescription Pricing Division (PPD) of the NHS Business Services Authority records the number of claims contractors make for MURs they have provided. The data for Wirral PCT were sourced from the PPD Information System and do not include adjustments for overpayments or the late submission of claims.

Information on the number of drug treatments or dosages changed as a result of an MUR is not collected centrally. The Department has not made any national assessment of the benefits of MURs.

Any dispensed medicines no longer required as a result of an MUR should be returned to a pharmacy for safe disposal.