One of our local GP practices is busy switching a number of drugs following the PCT’s pharmacy team intervention. This switching either involves changing patients on a particular drug to another drug in the same class, or to the same drug but in a different form.
The drugs concerned are statins, antidepressants, ACE inhibitors and PPIs.
We did receive a phone call from the GP’s practice pharmacist to let us know, which was gratefully received since one of the switches is already making a difference to our stock levels. However we had already got wind of some of the switches from patients who had been sent letters by the GP practice and had brought them in to show us.
We even had one patient who had received such a letter but had never been prescribed the drug in question, so understandably was rather confused!
As an ex-pharmaceutical adviser, I know what impact these simple changes can make to the drugs budget, and the switches in question do seem reasonable ones to me.
But from a patients’ point of view, these switches must be handled carefully and I’m pleased that most of the patients concerned are receiving letters in advance to inform them. So we are busy noting these changes to our records and making sure that the patients know about them when we hand the scripts out.