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Seven days in medicine: 10-16 October 2018

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4335 (Published 18 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4335

Prescribing

Government cracks down on NHS prescription fraud

Patients obtaining free prescriptions in England will face on-the-spot checks from pharmacists as part of a major government crackdown on prescription fraud. Ministers estimate that prescription fraud costs the NHS £256m a year and have set a target of halving this by 2020. To help achieve this a new digital system will be piloted in England next year to allow pharmacists to instantly check whether patients are entitled to a free prescription. If successful it will be rolled nationally.

Switch to biosimilar adalimumab, says NHS England

Doctors should prescribe biosimilar versions of adalimumab (Humira) as soon as these become available as expected in December, NHS England said. The move could save the NHS £160m a year. Nine in 10 new patients should be started on a biosimilar, it advised, and at least 80% of existing patients should be switched to the best value biologic within 12 months. Adalimumab is hospitals’ most expensive drug, costing £400m a year. Last year the NHS spent £17.4bn on medicines, up by a third since 2010-11.

Mental health

Government has “long way to go” to improve child access

Mental health services for young people in England may struggle to meet demand despite ministerial pledges to boost funding, the government’s spending watchdog warned. The National Audit Office noted the government’s “laudable ambitions” …

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