Scottish government considering generic substitution

Home/Policies & Legislation | Posted 31/01/2011 post-comment0 Post your comment

A Scottish politician revealed on 17 November 2010 that the Scottish government is currently considering whether to introduce generic substitution as part of ongoing efforts to reduce spending over the coming years.

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Responding to a question in parliament, Dundee East Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), Ms Shona Robison, explained that a final decision on the matter is yet to be taken. This announcement comes as a bit of a surprise, considering the UK Department of Health’s announcement that it had abandoned plans to introduce compulsory generic substitution.

Under the terms of the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), pharmacists will be able to fulfil a prescription for a branded medicine by dispensing an equivalent generic medicine, but only where it is safe and clinically appropriate to do so. Provision will be made to allow the prescriber to opt out of substitution where, in his/her clinical judgement, it is appropriate for the patient to receive a specific branded medicine. In these circumstances the named brand must be dispensed.

The introduction of the generic substitution measures contained in the PPRS will be subject to discussion with affected parties, such as doctors, pharmacists and patient representative organisations, to ensure that the new arrangements are introduced in a way which safeguards the interests of patients while improving the effectiveness of prescribing.

“It has long been the Scottish government’s policy to encourage generic prescribing wherever clinically appropriate”, MSP Ms Shona Robison said. “Maximising the use of generic medicines is an area where there may be further opportunities to make cost savings”.

MSP Ms Shona Robison added that the Edinburgh administration is currently in talks with a range of organisations as to whether promoting the increased use of generic medication would benefit both the National Health Service in Scotland and patients.

The Scottish government is currently faced with making public spending cutbacks of around GBP 1.3 billion over the next year.

Related article

UK scraps generic substitution plans

Source: Actavis Press Release, Scottish Parliament.

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