DoH has 'open mind' on generic substitution plans

Final decisions on whether generic substitution will be introduced in England have yet be made, the government has insisted.

Responses to the current consultation on whether pharmacists in England should be allowed to switch drugs prescribed by brand to generic alternatives will inform any decision, the DoH said.

DoH officials stressed the point at a meeting in London on Tuesday which formed part of a series of events being conducted as part of the consultation into proposals to introduce generic substitution by pharmacists in England.

Much of the event focused on how generic substitution would be implemented, rather than whether it should, leading attendees to suggest that the DoH had already made up its mind.

'This is absolutely not trying to pre-empt what the consultation may come out with,' a DoH spokeswoman said. 'It is just trying to take the opportunity to get people's views on what - if ministers say we really have to squeeze every last drop out of the generic prescribing of medicines - would be the best way of doing it.'

She said it was important that people raised any concerns with the DoH through the consultation process.

The DoH also acknowledged at the event that its estimate that only 50% of branded prescribing is clinical appropriate was not based on any research findings. Views on whether the level of clinically appropriate brand prescribing should be set higher or lower would be welcomed as part of the consultation, the department said.

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