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PRESCRIPTIONS: The Government yesterday launched a drive to stamp out prescription fraud, which deprives the health service of £30m each year. Gerry Malone, Minister of State for Health, announced that from 1 April, patients would have to complete a declaration on the back of the prescription form, giving precise grounds for their entitlement to free prescriptions.

To prevent unscrupulous chemists charging the NHS for prescriptions that have been paid for, patients would have to state much they had paid.