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NHS: Drugs

Volume 475: debated on Friday 9 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent estimate he has made of the savings to the NHS that could be achieved by extending the prescription of generic drugs. (203105)

Using the quarterly potential generic savings report produced by the prescription pricing division of the NHS Business Services Authority, it is possible to determine that for the latest period available, October 2007 to December 2007, the potential savings, in England, that may be achieved by prescribing generically rather than by brand is £8.6 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has made an estimate of the extra costs incurred by the NHS in treating patients whose conditions have worsened as a result of them not being able to afford their prescribed medication. (203106)

We have made no such estimate.

We agree it is vitally important that people get the medicines they need. There are already extensive arrangements in place for exemption from prescription charges, particularly for those on a low income. People who do pay for their prescriptions can manage the cost by purchasing a prescription prepayment certificate, which allows them to get all the prescription items they need for £27.85 for three months and £102.50 for a year.