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PCTs must find £100m for drug overspends

Primary care trusts will have to find £100 million from their contingency funds to cover pre- scribing overspends this year.

The scale of the predicted overspend was revealed by the Prescription Pricing Authority in its November prescribing monitoring document.

Dr James Kennedy, RCGP prescribing spokesman, said inflation, national service frameworks and drugs approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence had pushed up drug spend.

'Drug inflation has been 8 per cent on average and 12-13 per cent in isolated cases, but that is different to an overspend and a good manager will factor that in,' he added.

He said the quality framework would also impact on prescribing budgets.

The Department of Health said although the forecast was bigger than PCTs' budgets, there would be no overspend. PCTs would use their contingency funds to cover the difference, a spokesman added.

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