Norfolk wasted NHS drugs shock

Unused and wasted drugs are costing the NHS at least £100m a year, with parts of Norfolk among the worst offenders, says a new report.The research, from the National Audit Office, found some doctors overprescribe, leading patients to stockpile medicines at home, while patients also fail to take drugs dispensed to them.

Unused and wasted drugs are costing the NHS at least £100m a year, with parts of Norfolk among the worst offenders, says a new report.

The research, from the National Audit Office, found some doctors overprescribe, leading patients to stockpile medicines at home, while patients also fail to take drugs dispensed to them. Other causes of wastage include medicines being dispensed but uncollected, and drugs prescribed in hospital being continued unnecessarily at home.

Money could also be saved if GPs prescribed lower-cost medicines, it said, which would have no detrimental effect on patient care.

The government has already launched a drive to get doctors to prescribe generic statins over the more costly branded versions.

Statins are taken by almost two million Britons to help lower their cholesterol, and the Department of Health estimates that at least £85m a year could be saved by switching to cheaper brands.

The report found the former North Norfolk Primary Care Trust had the highest rate of spending per daily dose for the statin drug.

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North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said he was concerned parts of the county were among the biggest spenders, when the county PCT had struggled to find the cash needed for sight-saving drugs for age-related macular degeneration. “There is evidence from around the country that the same results could be achieved at much lower costs,” he said.

A report in February from the Office of Fair Trading said the NHS was paying many millions of pounds too much for branded drugs.

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