Drug shortages and "Price Concessions" - how much is it costing the NHS?

There has been an interesting and concerning story in The Times today regarding shortages on a number of commonly-used medicines and a corresponding increase in the costs. Here at OpenPrescribing we have been taking a look at these data as well, and trying to estimate to the cost to the NHS this year. As the Times article suggested, the excess costs are now hitting £50m per month, with £175m extra spent in primary care by September:

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OpenPrescribing December 2017 Newsletter

New: Analyse page no longer needs a denominator One of the most common requests we receive is to be able to use the analyse page without needing to select a denominator, so that you can simply see how much of a drug is being prescribed in each CCG or practice. We’ve now made this feature available. When creating an analysis, simply select “nothing” in the versus dropdown, and you can then see raw monthly data for each practice or CCG.

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OpenPrescribing November 2017 Newsletter

Long Term Trends Tool! All prescribing, 1998-2016 We have created a new interactive tool for exploring the national Prescribing Cost Analysis (PCA) data, allowing you to investigate prescribing trends over 19 years from 1998 to 2016. We’ve done a huge amount of hard work to make this tool simple and easy. For example, lots of drug names have changed over time, treatments have moved between Chapters of the BNF, or been assigned new codes.

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New OpenPrescribing tool: long-term prescribing trends, back to 1998!

We have created a new interactive tool for exploring the national Prescribing Cost Analysis (PCA) data, allowing you to investigate prescribing trends going back to 1998. The PCA data contains annual data on all drugs dispensed in the community in England. Note this makes it slightly different to the monthly dataset used elsewhere on OpenPrescribing which shows how items were prescribed in England. This means that, for example, in PCA data generic products will not appear until the generic is available to be dispensed, and prescriptions written in Wales will be included provided they were dispensed in England.

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OpenPrescribing October 2017 Newsletter

We send out monthly newsletters for OpenPrescribing, detailing new features and updates, which you can sign up for here. Our latest issue is below: Low Priority Treatments NHS England recently launched a consultation on new prescribing guidelines, which lists treatments that should generally no longer be prescribed. We have launched a new tool that allows you to explore the prescribing of these ‘low value’ items in any GP Practice or CCG in England.

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Publication Bias: in cake form - Bennett Institute at the Curiosity Carnival

We were at Oxford University’s Curiosity Carnival, an event featuring researchers from all disciplines enthusiastically explaining their work to members of the public in an enormous variety of forms, all around the city. We entered the Great Research Bake-Off and took on the challenge of representing some of the key issues around research integrity through the medium of cake. We displayed an array of fairy cakes, each representing clinical trials. To produce a good cake, or trial, a good methodology is fundamental.

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Which GPs are prescribing the treatments advised against by NHS England?

Today we launch another exciting new feature on OpenPrescribing. NHS England recently shared a list of 19 classes of treatment which they think should not be prescribed by GPs. These treatments were advised against on the grounds that they are ineffective, and therefore wasteful, or at least “low priority”. We think it’s good for everyone to be able to see what GP practices are prescribing: the GPs themselves, but also patients, journalists, commissioners of health services, the public, medicines optimisation teams, and indeed anyone who is interested in exploring and improving healthcare.

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See Data on the Individual Drugs in our Prescribing Measures

Today we launch another new feature on OpenPrescribing. As you will probably know, we have various standard prescribing measures which show how a practice or CCG is prescribing in comparison with their peers. These are presented as percentages or rates, and often the maths is very simple: what is the proportion of “undesirable drug” divided by “all drugs in that class”. But sometimes there are lots of drugs in the “numerator”, the top half of the equation.

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What is a Dormant GP practice, and why are they prescribing?

At OpenPrescribing, we provide tools for analysing prescribing behaviour in primary care in the NHS in England. If you work with prescribing data, you may have noticed that practices which are “dormant” apparently continue to prescribe. This short article explains why, for the curious. What is a Dormant practice? Our prescribing data comes from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), who are responsible for processing dispensing information supplied by pharmacies. Each line of the data includes a practice code which uniquely identifies the GP Practice that issued the prescription.

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