The Government will take action to reduce medicines being prescribed unnecessarily in England following a new review

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Ministers will announce action to prevent overprescribing of medicines following a new review led by the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer.

The review found that 10% of the volume of prescription items dispensed through primary care in England are either inappropriate for the patients’ circumstances and wishes, or could be better served with alternative treatments.

The review sets out a series of practical and cultural changes to make sure patients get the most appropriate treatment for their needs, while also ensuring clinicians’ time is well spent and taxpayer money is used wisely.

This includes shared decision making with patients about starting or stopping a medicine, better use of technology, ways to review prescriptions more effectively, and considering alternative medicines which would be more effective.

Ministers have accepted all recommendations and work will now begin to implement them, with reforms to pharmacist training already underway.

Dr Keith Ridge CBE, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, said: ‘This report recognises the strong track record of the NHS in the evidence-based use of medicines, thanks to the clinical expertise of GPs and pharmacists and their teams, and our achievements to date in addressing overprescribing, which is a global issue.

‘Continuing to tackle overprescribing requires a whole system approach involving clinicians and patients, so we can continue to build the change we all wish to see in how medicines are used for the benefit of patients, and with medicines production and use a major driver of greenhouse gas emissions—contributing to the NHS’s net zero ambition.’


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