HC Deb 12 November 1985 vol 86 cc421-2
12. Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will seek reductions in the quantity of drugs prescribed by doctors.

Mr. Hayhoe

With the support of the British Medical Association, doctors are already encouraged to restrict the amount they prescribe on any one occasion, in the interests of both economy and safety. There is no evidence that amounts prescribed are generally excessive, but, following the recent successful conference on prescribing, ways in which doctors may be further encouraged to prescribe both economically and effectively are being explored with representatives of the profession.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

Now that my right hon. Friend has restricted the range of drugs prescribed, will he look for the much greater savings to be made from reducing the huge quantity of drugs in circulation? Is he aware that hundreds of millions of pounds' worth of drugs a year are thrown away or wasted? Will he tell the House what practical steps he will take to make some doctors reform their wasteful prescribing habits?

Mr. Hayhoe

The prescribing habits of doctors are monitored, and the family practitioner committees have the power to go to those doctors who appear to be prescribing excessively and discuss the matter with them.

Forward to