Cost of some types of prescribed drug can vary fourfold across England, audit shows

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 24 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1076
  1. Adrian O'Dowd
  1. London

    Up to £300m (€440m; $590m) could be saved every year in England through smarter prescribing by GPs, the government's spending watchdog said last week.

    The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report saying that smarter prescribing—and particularly the prescribing of generic drugs—could save primary care trusts more than £200m a year, and cutting back on unused drugs could save a further £100m.

    For the report the NAO surveyed 1000 GPs, polled advisers on prescribing in primary care trusts, analysed prescriptions written between August 2005 and July 2006, and interviewed GPs, NHS trusts, academics, pharmacists, and the drug industry.

    The report identifies wide variation among trusts in the extent to which local GPs prescribe cheaper …

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