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Potential cost savings from the Government's £1.8 billion price-cutting deal with the drug industry could have little impact, GP experts have warned.
The voluntary pharmaceutical price regulation scheme deal, agreed last week, will shave 7 per cent off the cost of branded drugs for the NHS, and the Department of Health said money saved would be ploughed back into PCTs.
Health Secretary John Reid said the deal was a 'win-win' for the NHS, the taxpayer, and the drug industry with industry tax breaks on research rising by 5 per cent.
But Dr Mike Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, said PCTs were unlikely to have more money for services because many trusts were still wrestling with overspends.
RCGP prescribing spokesman Dr Jim Kennedy, a GP in Hayes, Middlesex, said the deal would have little overall impact because of consistent increases in the number of prescriptions.
In 1999 the NHS and the drug industry made a deal which saved the NHS 4.5 per cent of its drugs bill, but critics said NHS prescribing costs had doubled since then.