UK to revamp NHS drugs labelling to reduce wastage

1 July 2015 (Last Updated July 1st, 2015 18:30)

The UK Government is planning to revamp labelling of medicines prescribed by the National Health Service (NHS), a move that will enable patients to realise the cost of the medicines and discourage wastage.

NHS

The UK Government is planning to revamp labelling of medicines prescribed by the National Health Service (NHS), a move that will enable patients to realise the cost of the medicines and discourage wastage.

NHS drugs valued at more than £20 will have their price printed on the new labels.

The revamped packs will also be marked with the phrase 'funded by the UK taxpayer'.

The labelling of drugs will not just reduce waste by reminding people of the cost of medicine, but also expect to improve patient care by boosting adherence to drug regimes.

"NHS drugs valued at more than £20 will have their price printed on the new labels."

UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "There is no such thing as a free health service; everything we are proud of in the NHS is funded by taxpayers and every penny we waste costs patients more through higher taxes or reduced services."

Figures released by a research show that nearly £300m worth of medicines are being wasted in England every year.

"Estimates suggest that missed GP appointments cost the NHS £162m each year and missed hospital appointments as much as £750m a year. On top of which we spend £300m a year on wasted medicines.

"People who use our services need to know that in the end they pay the price for this waste," added Hunt.

Trade body Pharmacy Voice believes that the best way to tackle NHS medicines wastage was to focus on adherence and correct usage, and the wider implementation of services that focus on patients' need for medicines, such as repeat dispensing, instead of highlighting the price of some medicines to some patients.

Pharmacy Voice said: "The value of a medicine to an individual is about a good deal more than the price. Research shows that some patients, particularly older people, could be deterred from taking the medicines they need because they are worried about the impact on the public purse."


Image: NHS drugs valued at more than £20 will have their price printed on the new labels. Photo: courtesy of amenic181 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.