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Scotland: Health board to restrict ‘low clinical value’ Co-proxamol prescribing

lateral flow

By Léa Legraien

18 Sep 2018

 A Scottish health board has put forward proposals to restrict the prescriptions of a ‘low clinical value’ painkiller.

NHS Borders is reviewing the prescribing of certain low clinical value medicines including the painkiller Co-proxamol due to prescribing costs rising faster than its annual budget uplift.

NHS Borders will initially restrict the prescribing of the painkiller before considering further options, a spokesperson told The Pharmacist yesterday (17 September).


Other medicines being reviewed


The spokesperson said: ‘Since [Co-paraxamol’s] license was withdrawn in 2005, it has required individual authorisation by a pharmacist and from October it will no longer be approved.

‘Other medicines are currently being reviewed on an individual patient basis. Prescribing should be in line with the license indication and approved for use in Scotland by the Scottish Medicine Consortium (SMC).’

The spokesperson added that NHS Borders expects to generate £1.6m of savings for prescribing in 2018/19.


Rise in costs


Over the past three years, prescribing costs in the Borders area have increased by 22% (£6.4m) – from £29.7m in 2014/15 to £36.1m in 2017/18, growing faster than NHS Borders’ annual uplift (1.5% in 2017/18 and 2018/19).

According to the spokesperson, £33.1m was allocated to prescribing costs for 2018/19, totaling 13.5% of NHS Borders £245m budget.


‘Consume all resources’


In a briefing document published earlier this month, NHS Borders said that if allowed to continue, the cost of medicines could theoretically consume all its available resources.

The document read: ‘Over time, there has been a separation of responsibility for individual patient care and resource utilisation.

‘Senior clinical staff who commit these resources are best placed to decide on how to obtain greatest value from prescribed medicines as they hold the detailed knowledge of the patients within their service.

‘With support and advice from pharmacy and finance they can ensure that we maximise the impact of NHS Borders’ expenditure on medicines’.

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