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To: Jeremy Hunt MP
Jeremy Hunt: Abandon Plans to Publish Cost on NHS Medicines
Plans to print the cost of medicines on their packaging is a blatant attempt to 'incentivise' people to 'get better', and it supports the erroneous belief that illness can be controlled. We request that Mr Hunt considers carefully the negative impact of this decision and we urge him to abandon it. We also believe it will not have any positive effect on medicine waste in the UK.
Why is this important?
Many people rely on NHS prescriptions every day in order to stay alive. Others rarely take medicine even when their doctor advises and prescribes it for them. While we agree that there is much to be done to control the waste of NHS prescribed medication we believe printing the cost on packaging will have several negative results:
1. People who are already reluctant to take vital medication will have an even better excuse to ignore their doctor's advice - "I don't want to cost the NHS money if I don't need to..."
2. People who rely on medication to survive and/or enjoy a decent quality of life are already fully aware of how much their medication costs. They have no choice - they NEED the medication to survive & being constantly reminded of the cost will put them under extreme pressure & could have a negative psychological effect by making those people feel ashamed, a burden or worse, not deserving of life.
3. Identifying the most expensive medications in this way will make it easier for anybody with the intention of stealing said drugs, either from a pharmacy or an individual to quickly take & sell the most sought after black market medications.
4. The words "Funded by the UK taxpayer" are very divisive and will only serve to highlight an already widening disparity between those who are earning and those who are unable to work because of sickness or permanent disability.
There are other ways to combat the waste of medications, including:
1. Changing regulations to allow unused medications to be returned to a regulated pharmacy in order to be re-distributed to another patient.
2. Encouraging all doctors to only prescribe what is necessary.
3. Setting up a national medication waste database to identify and catalogue which drugs are most often wasted, where and why.