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Flu Medication and Painkillers Cost Barnsley £3.1m

Wednesday November 30 2011


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MORE than £3 million has been spent in Barnsley over the last year by doctor's offering over-the-counter medications like Lemsip and Anadin on prescription.

New research from analysts SSentif say Barnsley is one of the highest spending authorities for the drugs (known as analgesics.) While some Southern trusts spend about £3.26 on the drugs - Barnsley's spend for 2010 to 2011 was £13.85 per head of population on average. The annual spend on drugs - which included Lemsip, Beechams, Anadin and Panadol - topped £3,152,474.54.

SSentif's research suggested that the North/South divide in spending could be due to deprivation - and people who just can't afford to buy the drugs over the counter resort to getting them on free prescriptions.

Judy Aldred, managing director of SSentif: "At the moment the responsibility for the prescribing budget lies with Primary Care Trusts but this is about to change. PCTs are phasing out and GPs are being given greater responsibility, including the management of their own prescribing budgets. Although the figures involved were comparatively low, it was concerning to see products such as Lemsip and even Alka Seltzer XS, offered on prescription and when GPs begin shouldering the responsibility for prescribing costs it will be interesting to see if this continues."

A spokesman for NHS Barnsley said that the Primary Care Trust for Barnsley had already done an in-depth review of over the counter medicine prescriptions - which found that Barnsley GPs do not routinely prescribe branded medications.

He added: "The PCT regularly reviews GP prescribing - including analgesia prescribing - and investigates any significant variations against national and regional data.

"NHS Barnsley is committed to ensuring that analgesic medicines continue to be prescribed locally in line with national best practice guidance and we will analyse data referenced by SSentif."

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Reply Posted by Anonymous on Thursday December 1 2011 at 14:36
Such medication can and should be bought over the counter. Sadi £3.1M could be better spent on life saving treatment/medication for patients with Cancer, Leukemia and HIV.