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Approved drugs 'banned on NHS over cost'

Approved drugs 'banned on NHS over cost'

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NHS managers are drawing up lists of approved drugs GPs must not prescribe because they are too expensive, a research has found.

Pulse research showed over half of primary care organisations (PCOs) have implemented such blacklists of drugs not to be given on the NHS in the past year as pressure to make savings grows.

Managers think the changes will save £250m from the 2011/12 medicines budget, the magazine said.

It used the Freedom of Information Act to ask for figures from 134 PCTs and health boards. They showed more than 50% of them have blacklisted drugs – in some cases over 100 – that GPs are not allowed to give patients on the NHS.

Pulse said 73 PCOs admitted adding medicines to such lists or giving GPs extra restrictions on how they prescribe in the past year, as they are faced with the prospect of saving about £1.9m each this year.

Drugs approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) or other organisations are often on these blacklists, Pulse said. It said featured drugs include gliptins for diabetes, denosumab for osteoporosis, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin – approved in some circumstances by the National Prescribing Centre.

Other listed drugs are banned because of "low clinical priority", such as newer contraceptive pills, weight-loss drug orlistat, erectile dysfunction drugs, some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, drugs for Parkinson's disease and homeopathic treatments, it said.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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