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Medicines management could save NHS £369m

Adverse drug reactions cost the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds a year, but most would be perfectly avoidable with improved medicines management, a new study concludes.

GPs were warned to carefully check combinations of drugs patients were taking, particularly the elderly, and to ask about herbal and OTC medicines.

Freelance consultant pharmacologist Mark Greener's research reviewed more than 40 studies of adverse drug reactions, and concluded 59 per cent were avoidable.

His study, published in the Journal of Medical Economics last month, estimated potential savings at £369 million.

Mr Greener said: 'Most GP do medicine management well but some need to put time into finding out exactly what drugs patients take, including anything that has not been prescribed.'

He also concluded that the cost associated with wasted medicines in primary care was about £1.3 billion a year. 'About one in nine households has at least one prescribed medicine the patient no longer requires.'

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