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Prescription Drugs

Question for Department of Health

UIN 17238, tabled on 23 November 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department has taken in the last 12 months to improve access to off-patent, repurposed drugs; and what assessment it has made of the effectiveness of those steps.

Answered on

1 December 2015

Our policy on generic prescribing has been in place for a number of years. The policy helps ensure that patients can access the medicine that best meets their needs and it has been a key driver in the National Health Service making maximum use of off-patent drugs which are also known as generics. We have the best prescribing rate for these drugs in Europe.


To support clinicians who may want to prescribe a product off-label for a patient to and improve the flow of research evidence into clinical practice, the Department hosted a Roundtable Event in February 2015. Attendees included the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Breast Cancer Now and other charities and discussions helped determine those non-legislative measures that could be undertaken. The Government is committed to this work and is holding a further roundtable event with charities.