27 October 2010
Following a full public consultation, the Government has decided not to go ahead with compulsory generic substitution (CGS) in primary care, as a means of cutting healthcare costs. Plans to introduce CGS, whereby pharmacies would (in large) be obliged to dispense a generic (usually cheaper) version of any drug, even if the branded form were prescribed by a GP, were announced in November 2009; with a view to implementing the policy in February 2010. However they were met with such strong public protest, that a full consultation on the matter was necessary.
In addition to the dangers (and potential healthcare costs) of suddenly altering the active drug concentration from a particular dose (as can occur when switching from branded to generic drugs), more simple issues such as differences in pill colour or packaging design to ‘usual’ can also cause confusion and worry.
The Government’s decision on CGS, which was announced on 14 October 2010, means that doctors and other frontline health professionals can continue to base their prescribing decisions (branded versus generic drugs), on individual clinical assessment of their patients, which is exactly as it should be. Statistics show that in practice almost 85% of prescriptions written are already for generic drugs, which demonstrates that health professionals already think about cost effectiveness, in addition to clinical benefit, when treating their patients.
Epilepsy Wales waits for confirmation that the Welsh Assembly Government will announce that they concur with the findings of the Government and will reject any further plans regarding CGS.
pub. October 10th, 2010