Health and the Use of Medicines in Primary Care in Wales

Baillie, L., Hawe, E., O'Neill, P. and Greville, R.

Consulting Report
November 2011

Sign Up for the OHE News Bulletin

Why not sign up for our news bulletin? Around once a week we will send you a round-up of the latest news, events and publications from OHE.

I'm already signed up    No thanks

In this, report commissioned by the ABPI in Wales, OHE Consulting examines the use of medicines in primary care in Wales since 2000 compared to the other countries of the UK. Key findings include a more rapid increase in the number of prescriptions per person in Wales a greater number of prescriptions per person. This is linked to Wales’s more elderly population and higher rates of chronic illnesses. Despite the increase in volume of prescriptions, however, spending on medicines in Wales has decreased and at a faster rate than elsewhere in the UK. This is explained in large part by a more rapid increase in Wales in prescribing of lower cost medicines, including generics.

The report also shows that overall NHS spending in Wales has been growing faster than spending on medicines. Other recent research, referenced in the report, has suggested that Health Boards in Wales consistently underspend their medicines allocations, although the reasons remain unclear. At the same time, however, Wales lags behind England in the uptake of new primary and secondary care medicines that have received positive appraisals from NICE or from the All Wales Medicine Strategy Group. The report suggests that the increasing availability of generic medicines over the next few years could provide enough savings to help increase the timely uptake of recommended medicines.