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GPs go forth

Medication costing more than £20 to include price on label

The Government is hoping to reduce the cost of wasted medication by informing patients of the cost to NHS of the drugs they are prescribed.

As of next year, the packaging of all medicines costing more than £20 will come with the cost of the drug to the NHS printed on the label, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

Mr Hunt said that people who use NHS services need to know that in the end they are paying the price of waste in a speech earlier this week focused on patients taking personal responsibility for reducing unnecessary burdens on the NHS.

The Government will start the work to develop the new packaging - which will also state that the drugs are ‘funded by the UK taxpayer’ - this year, with the aim to implement the changes by next year, Mr Hunt said.

Other ways in which Mr Hunt wants patients to take personal responsibility for NHS sustainability included acting to prevent and manage long-term conditions as well as using NHS services more responsibility, citing estimated costs of missed GP appointments last year at £162m.

He said: ‘People who use our services need to know that in the end they pay the price for this waste. So today I can announce that we intend to publish the indicative medicine costs to the NHS on the packs of all medicines costing more than £20, which will also be marked “funded by the UK taxpayer”.

‘This will not just reduce waste by reminding people of the cost of medicine, but also improve patient care by boosting adherence to drug regimes. I will start the processes to make this happen this year, with an aim to implement it next year.’

Readers' comments (14)

  • The Daily Scraggs say that it will have 'funded by the UK taxpayer' printed on it not the price. If so this is pointless. Patients should be aware that Flucloxacillin suspension costs £30 a bottle etc etc etc.

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  • I like the idea of labelling the cost to the NHS.

    But "funded by the UK taxpayer" sounds like more of the prevailing Nasty Party attitude, that Britain's poor should feel bad (and depressed, and alienated) for paying less tax than Britain's "captains of industry".

    Except we all know -
    Much of our tax system is not truly progressive
    The truly rich avoid tax like the plague
    And, British state spending bears little relation to British tax revenues anyway. (hence, the deficit).

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  • Patients should also be told after each consultation with the GP, that the GP consultation costed the NHS only £1.50

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  • @6:39pm

    Here here!

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  • Try telling that to those patients of mine who ship it off to their relatives in Pakistan.They'll wear the price tag as a badge of honour.

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  • No - this cannot be allowed to happen! The feckess won't give a toss while others will feel entitled (as taxpayers) and demand more; those likely to suffer are the selfless ones who'll decide that they shouldn't be a burden in taking such expensive medication and quietly not ask for repeats.

    Does Hunt really not see the absurdity of wittering on about "personal responsibility for reducing unnecessary burdens on the NHS" in this context while encouraging precisely the opposite in his drive for 7 day routine opening?

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  • Here's an alternative plan to reduce waste (from someone with years of relevant experience):
    1.Hand indicative bills to those who misuse A&E
    2. Ditto those who make use of 7 day pilots - bill cost to taxpayer per appt
    3. Send indicative bills to those who DNW in A&E or DNA hospital appt.
    4. Run media campaigns admitting how many millions have been spent on failed IT and other projects and vow not to repeat such waste ever again

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  • there will be many people out there, elderly mostly, who will see the price of certain medicationsand feel bad about coming back because they won't want to be a burden. the knock on effect of this is that they will become even more sick and require more expensive treatment, possibly in hospital.

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  • Jeremy Hunt seemed quite reluctant to charge patients for missed visits as much as he was inclined to label meds above £20.
    Why not put the cost of all meds on the script and include in this the pharmacy surcharge, GP cost (£1.50?) or nursing cost.
    The awareness is important and I have patients who express shock that their 30 tabs for 2 months can cost up to £200.
    While doing repeats on those with chronic and multiple conditions, the computer shows costs of prescriptions up to 1300 on my screen. If it jolts me, it surely would be an eye opener for the patient. Whether he will start behaving responsibly or will he begin to misuse the system by disposing off medication unlawfully or still give a damn- that remains to be seen. I strongly feel that it will give positive overall outcome.
    As far as missed appointments are concerned, Jeremy - just go and put a flat £10 per DNA and you will make a world of difference. No ifs and buts about it's being difficult to implement. The Dentists did it, so can we.

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  • I have already designed poster showing cost of GP appointment, cost of attending walk in Center and cost of A&E appointment and cost of calling ambulance in my area (Coventry & Rugby CCG) . It took nearly a year to design such poster after lot of opposition from various groups. some of the comments in response to the posters were like " still its free for me as i don't have to pay for it " or , I have every right to use these services as i have paid my taxes, or its is governments responsibility to look after my health. How do you get these people to change their behavior? . Only answer will be charging them directly for every contact they have with health service service

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