Generic substitution concerns highlighted in letter

Generic substitution could 'seriously jeopardise patient wellbeing', doctors and charity leaders have warned in a letter to The Times.

Primary Care Dermatology Society executive chairman Dr Stephen Kownacki and primary care nurse practitioner Deborah Duncan were among 19 signatories of the letter, alongside hospital specialists and representatives of Cure Parkinson's Trust, British Cardiac Patients Association, Epilepsy HERE, Skin Care Campaign, CancerBACUP, British Liver Trust and Epilepsy Research UK.

The cost of implementing generic substitution could be greater than any savings made, the letter warned.

‘Patient safety should be at the core of all prescribing decisions and the first priority in every case,' it said. ‘Only the prescribing doctor or nurse knows the patient's medical history - substitutions should never be made without their consent and awareness.'

Last month, England health minister Mike O'Brien launched the public consultation on the government's plans to introduce generic substitution in England. The proposals are open for comments until 30 March 2010.

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