We are informed by NHS England that in the period up to and including October 2018, spend on the 18 low priority medicines has fallen by £31.1 million from £133.6 million, compared to 2016/17. This represents a reduction of 23%.
The volume of medicines prescribed reduced by 27% and the number of patients prescribed these medicines reduced by 32%.
In addition, NHS England has worked with PrescQIPP and the NHS Business Services Authority to refine its assessment of the amount of money spent on over the counter medicines.
In the 12 months to January 2019, the total National Health Service spend in England on over the counter medicines was £449.4 million. This was a saving on total spend of £25.9 million from the 12 months to January 2018, which was £475.3 million. This saving does not account for the potential impact to the NHS from a reduced number of general practitioner appointments, for which no assessment has been made.
These savings will be reinvested into the NHS, ensuring patients can access high quality care now and in the future.