Drugs: Licensing

Department of Health written question – answered on 28th November 2014.

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Photo of Nicholas Dakin Nicholas Dakin Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps the Government is taking to address difficulties of access to off-patent drugs.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Off patent medicines are those where the original manufacturer’s patent has expired. The National Health Service has an excellent record in using these medicines. This is known as generic prescribing and over 83% of prescribing in primary care is done generically.

The term ‘off-label’ prescribing refers to the use of a drug outside of its licensed indication, i.e. in a different dose or for a different condition. We are focussing on supporting clinicians in incorporating the most up to date and robust evidence into patient care, including where that may involve the off-label use of a medicine.

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