From the Daily Telegraph (U.K.):
Cash-strapped health authorities are doubling the effective cost of medicines for some patients with long-term conditions.The Daily Mail (U.K.) calls it a "stealth tax on the sick." If so, good--the problem with the NHS is that it's free. As I've said, this sort of thing inevitable -- both in socialized medicine Britain and in the United States. So long as patients pay little of the costs of their healthcare, they will over-use the system (both doctor visits and prescriptions). Increasing the amounts individuals are responsible for their own healthcare -- and thus choose to pay or conserve -- is the best answer.
They are urging GPs to reduce the number of pills on a given prescription, which now cost £7.40 a time in England. In some cases the number of pills per prescription has halved.
While health authorities say the guidance is to help reduce the NHS bill for wasted medicines -- estimated at up to £300 million a year -- there is suspicion that health authorities are increasingly resorting to the measure for financial reasons.