Cheaper health drugs ‘no less safe’

3 Aug 18

Switching to cheaper NHS medicines does not impact the effectiveness of treatment, according to the agency responsible for overseeing health care providers. 

The NHS saved £324m in 2017-18 by using cheaper alternatives of 10 medicines but these were no less safe or effective, according to NHS Improvement. 

NHS Improvement, which is responsible for foundation and NHS trusts, set a savings target of £250m for trusts that use these 10 medicines for 2017-18, which it exceeded by £74m.

Jeremy Marlow, executive director of operational productivity at NHS Improvement, said: “As more people are diagnosed with long term conditions, such as arthritis and cancer, we must ensure the NHS uses its resources as efficiently as possible to treat and care for them.

Marlow noted that the group has set a target of £200m in savings for the financial year 2018-19.

NHS spending on medicines has grown from £13bn in 2010-11 to £17.4bn in 2016-17- an average growth of around 5% annually, according to health charity The King’s Fund.

Steve Barclay, health minister for the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “With over £300m saved and potentially more savings to come, this work is a perfect demonstration of the NHS using taxpayers’ money wisely whilst still delivering patients with the outstanding care that they need.”

In his maiden speech as health secretary, Matt Hancock announced £487m of investment in healthcare technology.

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