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GPs “facing drugs ban over cost”


A GPs group has said doctors are being stopped from giving patients expensive approved drugs as NHS bosses try to save money on prescribing.

A study by Pulse found over 50% of primary care organisations (PCOs) have in the last year brought in lists of medicines that cannot be paid for on the NHS.

Managers are changing the rules in a bid to cut £250 million from the drugs budget for this year, it said.

Pulse – a magazine and website for GPs – made freedom of information requests to 134 health boards and primary care trusts, and found more than half have stopped GPs from prescribing some medications on the NHS. In some cases the blacklist contained more than 100 items.

It reported 73 PCOs said they had such lists or had restricted prescriptions within the last year as they tried to save £1.9 million each in 2011/12.

The rules can often apply to medicines approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) or other authorities, Pulse said, such as denosumab for osteoporosis, gliptins for diabetes, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin – approved in some circumstances by the National Prescribing Centre.

It said other drugs have been added to the lists due to “low clinical priority”. Medicines for Parkinson’s disease came under that bracket, Pulse said, as well as erectile dysfunction drugs, newer contraceptive pills, weight-loss drug orlistat, homeopathic treatments, and some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Copyright © Press Association 2011


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