Earlier this year GPC prescribing lead Dr Bill Beeby expressed concern when it was revealed that there might be no formal public consultation or parliamentary debate ahead of the introduction of any scheme.
The DoH has now agreed to conduct a full, formal consultation on arrangements for implementing generic substitution, which GPs have suggested could affect patient care.
The proposals to allow pharmacists to substitute drugs prescribed by brand with generic replacements were set out in the changes to the Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) agreed last year.
A Department of Health spokeswoman said that the implementation of generic substitution was a complex issue. 'We want to make sure we engage with all stakeholders in the best way possible and we therefore intend to formally consult in the autumn on our proposals for implementation,' she said. 'How we implement generic substitution, and to what timetable, will be influenced by the outcome of this consultation process.'