HC Deb 05 March 1991 vol 187 c109W
17. Dame Jill Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he intends taking further steps to combat waste of money due to overprescribing of drugs.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

The Government are committed to a programme of measures to help eliminate wasteful and unnecessary prescribing. These include educational initiatives, the introduction of medical advisers on prescribing at each family health services authority and the introduction of indicative amounts for practices from 1 April 1991 to provide a financial benchmark against which performance can be measured.

20. Mr. Wilson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the cost of the drugs budget to the NHS in the current year.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

The latest forecast of spending on drugs in family health services in 1990–91 is £2,116 million. This represents an increase in real terms of 1 per cent. over the outturn for last year, although the rate of growth has slowed compared with previous years as a result of our initiative to encourage cost-effective prescribing. Information on expenditure on drugs in the hospital and community health services is not available for the current year but in 1989–90 amounted to £414 million.