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Scots GPs could save £14m extra on drugs

The quality of prescribing by GPs in Scotland has improved considerably in the past three years but there is still scope to save an extra £14 million a year, says a report from the Scottish spending watchdog.

Audit Scotland found generic prescribing has increased from 68 per cent of all medicines to 76 per cent.

A similar report three years ago calculated the annual savings in Scotland from better prescribing practice to be £26 million.

However, Audit Scotland warned potential savings would not compensate for the rising cost of new drugs which are pushing total spending on prescribing up by 13 per cent a year.

The report said national treatment guidelines were likely to increase costs further and estimated the outlay for statins alone would rise from £65 million a year in Scotland to £95 million over the next few years.

Joint Scottish GPC chair Dr David Love welcomed the findings but warned it would take time for practices to look at their prescribing habits.

He added: 'They need protected time and support to be able to do that but the arrangements for support are variable.'

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