Warning on NHS drugs bill

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The Independent Online
Dr Brian Mawhinney, the Minister for Health, warned yesterday that the NHS drugs bill cannot be allowed to rise at its present rate. Drugs are expected to cost more than pounds 2.5bn in the current year, a cash increase of 14 per cent, he told a pharmaceutical industry conference, in London yesterday.

His statements indicate that the Department of Health is likely to take a hard line on its controversial proposals to add an extra 10 drug categories to the limited list of drugs that GPs can prescribe. Brands of the contraceptive pill could be included in the limited list for the first time.