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Wasted drugs cost NHS £100m a year

Unused and wasted drugs are costing the NHS at least £100m a year, a report has revealed.

Some doctors overprescribe, leading patients to stockpile medicines at home, while patients also fail to take drugs dispensed to them, it found.

Other causes of wastage include medicines being dispensed but then going uncollected, and drugs prescribed in hospital being continued unnecessarily at home.

The research from the National Audit Office said £200m could also be saved if GPs prescribed cheaper medicines which have no detrimental effect on patient care.

The Government has already launched a drive to get doctors to prescribe generic statins over the more costly branded versions.

Statins are taken by almost two million Britons to help lower their cholesterol, and the Department of Health estimates that at least £85m a year could be saved by switching to cheaper brands.

The study also found the proportion of lower-cost statin prescriptions varied from 28% to 86% across PCTs in England in the second quarter of 2006-07.

National Audit Office

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