HC Deb 24 May 1972 vol 837 cc1408-9
5. Dr. J. Dickson Mabon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why the cost of penicillin and other drugs prescribed within the National Health Service is higher in Scotland than in England.

Mr. Monro

The cost of drugs from manufacturers and wholesalers is the same throughout Great Britain. However, the average net ingredient cost of drugs prescribed in Scotland is higher than in England because of differing patterns of drug buying by chemists.

Dr. Mabon

Is it not disturbing to read the cost charts of the Department of Health and Social Security and the Scottish Home Health Department and to realise that some drugs are very different in price from those prescribed in the Service—and indeed that the difference ranges from 10 per cent. to a figure of even 40 per cent.? Does this overspending or extra spending on drugs mean that there is less money with which to purchase other supplies and facilities within the Service and is there not as a consequence in Scotland a distortion of priorities?

Mr. Monro

I note what the hon. Gentleman says and I shall look into the matter. I must emphasise that whatever the cost of drugs, it makes no difference to the National Health Service patients.