The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1979-1983 Parliament

Mr Major’s Written Question on Drugs (Cost) – 11 November 1980

Below is the text of Mr Major’s Parliamentary written question on Drugs (Cost), published on 11th November 1980.

Mr. Major Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the cost of drugs to the National Health Service for each of the last three years; and whether he considers that significant economies can be obtained by more responsible prescription.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin The cost of drugs, exclusive of fees and allowances paid to chemists and dispensing doctors, in the National Health Service in England for each of the last three years was:

Year ended | Million

31 March 1978 | £565

1979 | £673

1980 | £781 (Provisional)

This includes the hospital and community health drug costs.

My Department takes a number of measures aimed at securing effectiveness and economy in prescribing. Among the more important are:

(a) the provision of information to interested doctors enabling them to study their own pattern of prescribing;

(b) the making available, free of charge, of independently produced publications on drugs and therapeutics;

(c) the provision of comparison charts which indicate the differences in cost between related drugs; and in support of these

(d) advice through the Regional Medical Service.

I have recently announced the establishment of an informal working group consisting of officials of my Department and members of the medical profession in order to identify further ways of encouraging effective prescribing.