AM calls for prescription review

Regional AM Suzy Davies has called on the new Welsh Labour Government to review why cheap, over the counter medicines are prescribed for free after figures showed that they spent £5.1m in 2015 giving people paracetamol.

Figures released by Welsh Government showed that each prescription for paracetamol cost the taxpayer £3.51p when they can be bought on the High Street for 26p per 500mg pack.

The figures also revealed that £2.4m was spent prescribing Ibuprofen and £1.9m on aspirin.

Mrs Davies, who is a Welsh Conservative Regional AM, said that it was time Labour dumped this ideologically-driven policy in favour of common sense.

She said: “The cost of free prescriptions in Wales now stands at almost £600m a year and, while Welsh Government is prepared to waste money prescribing drugs that are easily and very cheaply available for people to buy, it has been refusing to fund expensive cancer drugs which could literally spell the difference between life and death for cancer sufferers in Wales.

“Where are their priorities? We all agree that many in society should have free prescriptions but this obsession with free prescriptions for all is outdated.

“The more people are aware of the difference in the cost between prescribing everyday drugs and their cost at the chemist or supermarket, the more they will see it as a wasteful way to use NHS resources.

“Welsh Conservatives want the cost to the NHS of prescribing over the counter drugs like aspirin amd calpol to be printed on the prescription labels. This raised a lot of interest during the election and we found that people would like that detail so that they can make an informed choice about whether to accept these medicines on prescription or spend a few extra pence themselves when shopping.

“Welsh Government needs to conduct an urgent review of this policy which has resulted in Wales now prescribing the highest number of items per head of population in the UK.”