28-day prescription limit 'costly and inconvenient'

Prescribing Study finds limits were unpopular with patients.

Policies limiting prescriptions to 28 days' treatment are unpopular with patients and more expensive for the NHS, a study has shown.

Researchers from the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle examined attitudes to restricted prescription lengths by surveying 2,551 members of the British Thyroid Foundation.

Only 13 per cent of respondents were 'satisfied' with the 28-day arrangement and 59 per cent were 'dissatisfied'.

Patients have warned that the policies, designed to cut medicines wastage, undermine access to treatment and increase costs and inconvenience for patients.

Last year, GP newspaper revealed that more than 40 per cent of PCTs had introduced 28-day prescribing limits without assessing the impact on patient care (GP, 27 November 2008).

The researchers also compared the costs of three-month and 28-day levothyroxine scrips. Accounting for drug costs and the pharmacist's professional fee, 28-day prescribing cost £7.90 more a year per patient.

Additional costs would also be incurred for 28-day prescribing, the researchers pointed out, including GP and staff time.

'Levothyroxine 28-day prescribing is substantially more expensive than giving longer supplies,' the researchers said.

'Although the 28-day prescribing policy has some benefits in principle, in practice the policy has some clear disadvantages,' they added.

'An indiscriminately applied 28-day prescribing policy is inappropriate for cheap medications and for those that have to be taken lifelong,' they said.

'Our analysis may be equally applicable for other endocrine conditions and for other chronic conditions.'

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

  • BMC Public Health Online 2009

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GPs demand 'early warning system' as drug shortages drive up workload

GPs demand 'early warning system' as drug shortages drive up workload

GP leaders have demanded an 'early warning system' to flag up medicine supply problems...

GPs need minimum 3.2% pay rise plus plan to reverse cuts, says BMA

GPs need minimum 3.2% pay rise plus plan to reverse cuts, says BMA

Pay for all doctors should rise by a minimum of 3.2% in 2019/20, the BMA has warned...

Solution to GP workforce crisis must come before NHS reform, MPs told

Solution to GP workforce crisis must come before NHS reform, MPs told

The workforce crisis and underfunding of general practice must be tackled before...

Multimorbidity: The gap between guidelines and the reality in practice

Multimorbidity: The gap between guidelines and the reality in practice

Delivering outcome-focused care to patients with comorbidities is increasingly problematic...

Doctors 'severely let down' by pay review body, warns BMA

Doctors 'severely let down' by pay review body, warns BMA

BMA leaders have demanded changes to the review process that sets GP pay, warning...

GP appointments data reveal year-on-year rise in workload

GP appointments data reveal year-on-year rise in workload

GP practices across England delivered nearly 500,000 more appointments in November...