Abstracts: September 13th, 2001

By Matthew YoungThe article argues that doctors should stop issuing prescriptions and hand that task over to trained medicines experts, because no one is looking after the needs of the patient in terms of choosing the best medicine, adjusting it to the right dose, and measuring whether it works. So patients get the wrong prescription, at the wrong dose, and end up throwing the rest of their expensive medicines down the toilet. This calls for a radical separation of the GPs’ role in determining the diagnosis – what’s wrong with the patient – and prescribing – what medicine will be best for the patient. GPs are trained in diagnosis, but are often out of date regarding what new medicines are best to deal with the problem. And GPs don’t have the time to learn in detail about doses and side-effects. The author urges that High street pharmacists who are trained medicines experts should be relocated from the shop to Primary Care – to work alongside GPs. They must be actively involved with the patient and placed in charge of the prescribing process and medicines management. Taking the prescription pads away from GPs will deliver large improvements in patient management and medicines management, reduced hospital admissions and a significant reduction in medicines wastage. Patients will get the best treatment, benefiting sooner from advances in medical science, and the NHS will have a better-managed drugs budget.

Published by the Adam Smith Institute www.adamsmith.org.uk/cissues/