Managing Medication Costs – Everyone’s Responsibility

It is important that everyone (NHS Staff and patients) do what we can to make sure we make the best use of the money available to us.  We all benefit from the NHS and we all need to do what we can to ensure its longevity.  

Spending over our allocated budget on medicines, means there is less money to spend on other areas of healthcare (including new and innovative medicines).

Medicine changes occur all the time, for a variety of reasons, but increasingly patients may be asked to consider a change to their medicines – to a more cost-effective option - for the overall benefit of the NHS. Such changes will only be considered after careful review of a patient’s medical records (by a GP and/or a pharmacist), and only when the safety and effectiveness of the alternative medicine has been shown to be the same.  Patient care remains paramount. 

Examples of changes could include:

· being asked to switch from a branded to a generic (unbranded) version of your current medicine;

· switching to an alternative drug which works in the same way as your existing medicine, but is less-costly;

· being asked to consider stopping a medicine that may no longer be offering benefit.

These changes may be suggested during a face-to-face consultation with your doctor, a telephone call from the practice, or a letter.  In all cases, patients are invited to contact the practice directly should you wish to discuss the proposed change in more detail. Equally, any patients experiencing problems or issues after a change are encouraged to notify the practice of these (although due to the care involved in screening patients prior to change, this scenario is likely to occur very infrequently).

Prescribing in a cost-effective manner is here to stay. We are grateful for our patients' ongoing support in considering changes to their medicines for the overall benefit of the NHS.  Please be assured that quality patient care remains our primary focus.


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