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ABPI against paying GPs to switch

It is important to understand the nature of the legal challenge the pharmaceutical industry is making to the NHS's use of 'switch' programmes that move prescriptions from branded to generic medicines (News, 5 July).

The ABPI takes no issue with cost-effective prescribing and the greater use of generics. Indeed, we contributed to the guidelines just issued by the Department of Health to make sure these programmes are managed well and patient health is safeguarded.

What we do challenge is making payments to GPs for specific drug switches – not only do we believe this is illegal, but it also undermines patients' confidence that GPs will keep them on the best medicine for their own, individual case.

From Dr Richard W Baker, director general, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry

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