§ Mr. Carter-Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is being done to promote economies in prescribing in the National Health Service; whether he has consulted the medical profession; and if he will make a statement.335W
§ Mr. Ennals
My Department takes a wide range of measures to secure economies and obtain value for the money spent on prescribing, whilst safeguarding patients' rights to whatever treatment their doctor considers necessary for them. In particular, we provide doctors with independently produced information about drugs and therapeutics and about comparative prices of medicines.
The medical profession is no less concerned than Ministers to promote every economy in the use of drugs that is compatible with patients' well-being. Yesterday, the Chairman of Council of the British Medical Association and I issued a joint statement about rising patient expectation and consumption of medicines, asking doctors for their co-operation in helping to arrest the trend. A copy of the statement has been placed in the Library.
Patients have an important part to play in the reduction of unnecessary expenditure. My officials are consulting doctors' representatives and the Health Education Council about how best the public can be encouraged to co-operate with their doctors in avoiding unnecessary demands for medicines.