Prescribing costs in primary care

Front Cover
Stationery Office, May 18, 2007 - Medical - 37 pages
The National Health Service spends 8 billion a year on prescription drugs in primary care in England. This has grown 60% in real terms over the last decade and the trend continues to be upward. This report examines how the money could be spent more efficiently, without compromising clinical outcomes. It looks principally at the scope for more cost-effective prescribing; supporting the GPs and PCTs in getting better value for money; and the wastage of drugs. For four groups of drugs (which account for 19% of the total drugs bill), it finds a wide disparity in prescribing behaviour. It estimates that if all PCTs attained the standard of the best 25%, 200 million could be saved. The analysis shows that there are several mechanism to improve value for money. They include: personalised communication with GPs from local experts, financial and practical incentives, and involving the whole primary and local care community in decisions about drug policy. Wastage of drugs is a problem but the level is not monitored and the uptake of initiatives to reduce the amount of waste is low. Assessing whether local prescribing volumes are consistent with clinical need is complex, but combining prescription data with local prevalence data can provide benchmark information.

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Supporting GPs and PCTs to get better value

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