The amount of drugs handed out has risen 50% to £800m a year
Over-prescribing is costing the Welsh NHS millions and causing an unnecessary waste of medication, a new inquiry has concluded.
The Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee discovered there has been a 46% rise in the number of items dispensed by medics in the past 10 years.
Latest figures show the cost of prescribing medicines in Wales is around £800m per year in primary care alone – or more than 10% of the total Welsh NHS budget.
The committee was told that as many as half of all hospital admissions could be medication-related, where patients have either been prescribed the wrong drugs or, more likely, had taken the wrong dosage.
But incidents of medication-related admissions are not recorded so there is no way of establishing the true size of the issue.
Prescription drug dependence and withdrawal – recognition and support
We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to take action to appropriately recognise and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.
This petition has been set up to raise awareness of the plight of individuals in Wales who are affected by dependence on and withdrawal from prescribed antidepressants and benzodiazepines – and specifically to ask the Welsh Government to support the BMA’s UK-wide call for action to provide timely and appropriate support for individuals affected.
The term “prescription drug dependence” refers specifically to the situation where, having taken their antidepressant or benzodiazepine medication exactly as prescribed by their doctor, patients find they are unable to stop because of the debilitating withdrawal effects. It is important to note here that addiction and dependence are related but different issues. Use of the term addiction implies pleasure seeking behaviour. Reporting of prescription drug dependence in the media continues to allude to “misuse” and “addiction” as if the patient is responsible in some way for their own harm. This is far from the truth. There is no pleasure whatsoever in finding that if you try to reduce or stop your antidepressant, you suffer a wide range of physical and emotional disturbances, that for some people can be life limiting and, tragically, even life ending. Patients need formal acknowledgement, support and guidance to help them through their withdrawal journey and this currently does not exist.