Through a cost saving exercise the NHS are using cheaper medicines, which they say do not compromise patient care.
This is against the backdrop of a 5% increase in NHS spending year on year since 2010. A considerable amount of this spending is due to the high cost of new and innovative medicines.
A total saving of £324m has been reported in the last financial year for the health services, due to hospitals implementing this change.
Bio-similar and generic medicines for conditions such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, are being used as alternatives to more expensive medicines and have reportedly saved the NHS £50m since 2017.
A cheaper alternative medicine to Herceptin, which treats breast cancer, has now been approved by the NHS, which they hope will also save them considerable funds.
Carolyn Rogers Clinical Nurse Specialist at Breast Cancer Care acknowledged that some people will be concerned about the use of alternative medicines and conceded that, “it is crucial people with breast cancer feel reassured they are just as safe and effective.”
She also pointed out that bio-similar drugs have been used for other diseases for years and stated that, “with our incredibly overstretched NHS, switching costly medicines for less expensive but rigorously tested alternatives is a step in the right direction.”
Many further bio-similar medications are due to become available throughout 2018. The news has been welcomed by health charities, as NHS funds can be freed up to be used elsewhere.
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