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Licence headache for GPs over German MMR supply

The GPC has launched a stinging attack on the Commons health select committee over the findings of a controversial report that strongly criticised GP prescribing.

In a letter to the committee, the GPC angrily protested against recommendations for sweeping new prescribing controls, claiming they would simply be used to cust costs.

The GPC's attack will be seen as a pre-emptive strike ahead of the Department of Health's response to the report in June or July.

The committee's report on the influence of the pharmaceutical industry accused GPs of 'indiscriminate prescribing on a grand scale' of SSRIs and cox-2 inhibitors.

But GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum wrote: 'This is the kind of comment we find particularly unacceptable' and said hospital doctors were more often to blame for inappropriate prescribing.

Dr Meldrum added: 'We consider some of the comments directed at, and recommendations made in respect of, doctors working in pri-mary care are misguided

and lack a perception of the

reality that is experienced by GPs.'

The GPC derided controversial proposals to introduce hospital-based formularies, after the committee demanded 'tougher restrictions on what non-specialists can prescribe and greater vigilance against excessive or inappropriate prescribing'.

Dr Meldrum said: 'We were very concerned to read the above recommendation. We have limited faith in the possibility of hospital-based formularies to be effective in primary care. They are often simply used to restrict prescribing costs.'

The letter also hit out at the lack of GP representation on NICE and the Committee on Safety of Medicines and said the GPC had limited confidence in them.

Dr Meldrum told Pulse he hoped the letter would help 'redress the balance'.

He said: 'If anything is going to be carried forward in terms of legislation or changes we would hope it would be discussed with us and our reservations taken into account.'

Dr Charles Simenoff, member of the GPC prescribing sub-committee, said: 'I would not put much credence in this report and it should be taken with a pinch of salt.

'A lot of the problems are created by hospital doctors who seem to have a great

lack of knowledge on how prescribing works in general

practice.'

By Cato Pedder

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