In the UK, almost one in eight (13%) general practices dispense medicines. In sparsely populated rural areas, dispensing doctors are sometimes the only route for patients to access medicines without having to travel substantial distances.
But researchers say that dispensing doctors are more likely to prescribe higher-cost options for four commonly prescribed drug classes, in the conclusion of the “largest study ever” on the prescribing patterns of this GP group. Seven researchers from London institutions and the University of Oxford published a paper on the subject in February in the BMJ Open. They argue that the findings should prompt the NHS to rethink how it commissions medicines supply in rural areas.
Led by Dr Ben Goldacre, senior clinical research fellow and director of the Evidence-Based Medicine