Chemists swap GP scrips to generics

Pharmacists will be able to substitute drugs prescribed by brand with generic equivalents under a DoH deal with the pharmaceutical industry.

The drug pricing agreement takes effect next February, and generic substitution is to be introduced from January 2010 'subject to discussion with affected parties'.

Dorset GP Dr Graham Archard believes that the move towards generic prescribing has already gone too far.

'The government is suggesting that GPs do not understand what they are doing when they prescribe branded drugs.

'Anyone prescribed a branded medicine has been prescribed it because a GP has decided that is the best treatment. Now patients will give that prescription to a pharmacist who will change the medicine for a generic.'

He said the move would confuse elderly patients and could cause side-effects for patients.

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