Across seven PCTs in north east England, paracetamol prescribing is twice the level expected after accounting for age and deprivation.
If these PCTs matched the prescribing levels seen across the rest of England, they would save £2.5m a year, the CHKS analysts calculated. The seven PCTs are: NHS County Durham, Gateshead PCT, South Tyneside PCT, Sunderland Teaching PCT, NHS Newcastle, NHS North Tyneside and NHS Hartlepool.
To restrict prescribing of some licensed drugs at NHS expense, the DH would need to add these drugs to the blacklist of 'drugs, medicines and services not to be ordered under a GMS contract'. However, this NHS ‘blacklist’ has not been updated since it was compiled in 1985.