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Prescription changes costly and wasteful

Prescription changes costly and wasteful

Plans to go back to three-monthly prescriptions will mean a huge waste of drugs and big costs for patients, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott. "As a former geriatrician I remember removing shopping bags full of unused medications from old people's homes because the drugs had just been left to waste," Dr Scott said.

Drug funding agency Pharmac wants to change from one-monthly prescribing to drug allocations of three-months to save money.

"National changed to one month prescriptions in 1997 because there was so much waste. People were throwing away the drugs when they got side effects in the first week," Dr Scott said.

"What we need is a compromise where first-time prescriptions are a one month allocation, so that patients can work out if the drug agrees with them, to prevent waste and additional cost. "Rest homes tell me that either they or their residents will be paying an extra $250 to $300 a year for drugs because under three month allocations they'll lose a subsidy that many pharmacists choose to give relating to the packaging of drugs. Residential facilities will also have to keep a massive stock of pills and this is unsafe," says Dr Scott.

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