Letters: GPs could prescribe lower-cost medicines

On 14 September Eve Knight, of the British Cardiac Patients Association, wrote that guidance in a National Audit Office report on prescribing costs in primary care was 'financially driven' and 'independent of clinical or patient considerations'.

I would like to clarify what our report said. It does not recommend that GPs make clinical decisions based on cost. What it does say is that in some instances GPs could prescribe lower-cost clinically effective medicines, without affecting patient care. One example could be choosing genericover branded drugs where the clinical outcome is proven to be the same.

By doing this PCTs could save more than £200 million a year. As parliament's public spending watchdog, we believe that such sums are worth saving and ploughing back into patient care. But patient care should always remain the primary concern.

Julian Wood, Director of marketing and communications, National Audit Office.

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