The Government is hoping to reduce the cost of wasted medication by informing patients of the cost to NHS of the drugs they are prescribed.
As of next year, the packaging of all medicines costing more than £20 will come with the cost of the drug to the NHS printed on the label, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.
Mr Hunt said that people who use NHS services need to know that in the end they are paying the price of waste in a speech earlier this week focused on patients taking personal responsibility for reducing unnecessary burdens on the NHS.
The Government will start the work to develop the new packaging – which will also state that the drugs are ‘funded by the UK taxpayer’ – this year, with the aim to implement the changes by next year, Mr Hunt said.
Other ways in which Mr Hunt wants patients to take personal responsibility for NHS sustainability included acting to prevent and manage long-term conditions as well as using NHS services more responsibility, citing estimated costs of missed GP appointments last year at £162m.
He said: ‘People who use our services need to know that in the end they pay the price for this waste. So today I can announce that we intend to publish the indicative medicine costs to the NHS on the packs of all medicines costing more than £20, which will also be marked “funded by the UK taxpayer”.
‘This will not just reduce waste by reminding people of the cost of medicine, but also improve patient care by boosting adherence to drug regimes. I will start the processes to make this happen this year, with an aim to implement it next year.’