Prescription medicines will be marked with both a price and a label stating ‘funded by taxpayers’, under controversial new plans to reduce costs in the NHS.

‘We spend £300 million a year on wasted medicines. People who use our services need to know that in the end they pay the price for this waste,’ health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told a Local Government Association conference. The plan, which will come into force next year, aims to ‘reduce waste by reminding people of the cost of medicine’ Pharmacy groups have reacted angrily to the proposal, with Pharmacy Voice saying:

‘The value of a medicine to an individual is about a good deal more than the price. Research shows that some patients, particularly older people, could be deterred from taking the medicines they need because they are worried about the impact on the public purse.’ The group agreed that the estimated £300 million cost of wasted medicines each year in England needed to be tackled, but suggested that Medicine Use Reviews and the New Medicines Service were more appropriate means than public shaming.

‘Pharmacy Voice believes that the best way to tackle medicines wasting NHS resources is to focus on adherence and correct usage, and the wider implementation of services that focus on patients’ need for medicines, such as repeat dispensing, rather than highlighting the price of some medicines to some patients.’

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