§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the annual cost to the National Health Service of drugs prescribed; and what would be the saving if generic prescribing were mandatory.385W
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
In 1982–83 the total cost to the National Health Service of drugs prescribed was as follows:
£ million Hospitals 244.8 *Family Practitioner Services 988.4 1,233.2 * The figure for the FP Services includes the cost of appliances which it is not possible to exclude, but does not include the cost of fees and allowances paid for dispensing.
If doctors were required to prescribe generically wherever possible the potential savings, based on present relative prices of generic and branded drugs, are estimated at about £35 million a year. Any changes in price relativities would markedly affect this estimate. The Government's action to save £65 million this year and over £100 million in future years through changes to the pharmaceutical price regulations scheme, coupled with efforts to encourage effective prescribing by doctors, is the best way to achieve savings on the drugs bill.