Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

ABPI threatens generic switch court action

According to PharmaTimes, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) are preparing a legal challenge against the Department of Health for encouraging the wider use of cost-effective medicines.

The ABPI are concerned that local level initiatives that provide incentives to change medications in large numbers of patients may contravene European Law. They are also concerned that much of the switching is being done without due consideration for patient welfare and solely reduce costs. Finally, the ABPI argue that explicit consent should be obtained before changes are made to medication.

The Department of Health responded by pointing out that generic medicines are safe, of high quality and are equally as effective as branded alternatives. It was also noted that the recommended switches are "about achieving best value for money for the taxpayer and are backed by authoritative guidance".

Action: Before implementing changes to therapy clinicians should be assured that the switches provides one the following outcomes:

  • An identical or improved level of clinical control for lower acquisition costs
  • An improved level of clinical control for an acceptably higher acquisition costs

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